The vendor of church wine

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

As a priest on staff at the Holy Spirit Church in Margao, Goa, one of my duties is to visit the parishioners. A few days ago my visits took me to the famous Rua Abade Faria (named for Jose de Custodio de Faria, the colourful and enigmatic son of Goa – a hypnotist, priest and revolutionary). A few minutes of wandering along this street presents a kaleidoscope of some of the oldest, most notable heritage houses in Goa, typifying Goan domestic architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries and demonstrating a whole range of styles.

Along the length of the street, no two houses are alike. In one of these houses on Rua Abade Faria lives the 94-year-old Lucas Pascoal Joao Fernandes (nicknamed Lozcar), originally from Donvaddo in Saligao. He was born on 18 October 1915. He lives with his wife Leandra Marta D’Souza e Fernandes. She is from Pirazona, Moira. Lucas and Leandra have four daughters: Lafira Edith Fernandes, Loreta Filomena Perpetua Fernandes, Lidia Carlota Fernandes and Leandra Severina Fernandes. Their daughter Loreta lives with them in Margao.

Casa Lozcar

Lucas Pascoal and his family happily welcomed me into the splendid Lourenco House and all of us were nostalgic of our Saligao connections. Lucas asked me if I knew the Casa Lozcar back in Saligao. My affirmative reply triggered a sparkle in his eye and he was then eager to talk with me. I took the opportunity to ask him why his ancestral family had been nicknamed Lozcar.

He nodded and began by unfolding the genealogy of the Fernandes clan. “My grandfather,” he said, “was Lourenco Caetano Fernandes. He had two sons, Lazaro Joao Fernandes and Pedro Xavier Fernandes.  My grandfather owned a shop on Rua Jose Falcao, in Panjim, vending various types of wine. He also bought four houses in Panjim. Two he gave to his eldest son Lazaro, who married Maria Filomena Lobo. The two houses are still standing and Alba Fernandes, who is a spinster, takes care of them. Pedro Xavier Fernandes, my father, sold his two other houses.”

Church wine

Lucas Pascoal then explained the origin of the nickname: “The loja or shop which grandfather Lourenco Caetano owned at Rua Jose Falcao, close to Panjim Church, was the first one ever owned by a villager from Saligao in the capital city, and it became famous because of a special wine which had a label printed by him and fixed on the bottle and sold as “Vinho Especial do Santo Sacrificio de Missa” (Special Wine of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass). This wine was bought by various churches and chapels to be used for their religious services. His shop in Panjim was known as Lourenco Caetano Fernandes e Filho. His customers nicknamed it “Lozcar” (from loja meaning shop and car meaning possessor; he wrote it as old Konkani, nowadays we would say LOZKAR). He obviously liked the name and imprinted it on the fence of his ancestral house in Donvaddo, Saligao, almost two centuries ago.”

Lucas Pascoal continued telling me about his ancestors: “My grandfather’s son Pedro Xavier Fernandes married Maria Isabel Filomena Lobo from Aldona. They had the following children: Ida Berta Fernandes, Tome Caetano Climaco Mae de Deus Fernandes, Santana Francisco (Frank) Fernandes, myself [Lucas Pascoal], Georgina Laura Fernandes and Maria Carlota Fernandes (who lives in Aldona).”

Though in his nineties, Lucas Pascoal remembers the people of Saligao and facts about the village very well. I was happy to meet him and thanked him for all the information he shared with me. In fact, when I was based at the Panjim church, I had known his brother Frank quite well. Frank and his wife Alcina owned two shops, one in Panjim and the other in Margao, both specialising in selling spectacles. The Panjim shop was known as Frank and Co. and was a partnership, located very near the church. The one in Margao was sold and is now known as Optica.

Both Lucas as well as Frank would come to Saligao for the feasts of Mae de Deus and Saint Anne and took the opportunity to visit their relatives such as Martinho Cordeiro, Dolly and others at Arrarim and also their cousin Carlotina, who used to live in the ancestral Casa Lozcar in Donvaddo. Today the Lozcar house in Saligao has Italian residents, but they have kept the name Casa Lozcar intact on the fence, as it always has been all these years.

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