The Our Lady of Rosary Church building at Navelim was first built by the Jesuits in the 1590s; the present, Portuguese-style whitewashed structure was constructed later on when the older building became too small. The reconstruction was apparently financed by a local merchant “Barreto” who was saved from bankruptcy through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary.
According to legend, this church was built in mud similar to the other churches in Salcete between 1594 and 1598. The builders were Jesuits and it was financed by the villagers. The first parish priest of Navelim Church was a French Jesuit Fr. John Sena. (Mitras Lusitanas no Oriente)
As time passed, the church became small for the growing population. Later on, it was reconstructed with laterite stones on a larger scale by a rich Goan merchant, whose name is not given.
This merchant, according to legend, while passing through the main road running in front of the above church, received the message that he would lose a substantial amount of money in his business. As soon as he received this message, he entered the church and started praying to Our Lady of Rosary, requesting her to relieve him from this catastrophe. If his prayers were answered, he promised to reconstruct the original church, on a larger scale. In the event he not only recovered what he had lost, but realised double the amount. He then financed the entire reconstruction of the church and also renewed the statue of our Lady of Rosary.
Navelim is one of the largest villages in Goa. Some of the names of Navelim wards are: Aquem, Bellem, Buttica, Coldem, Colmorod, Danddo, Dialgona, Dongorim, Firgulem, Fradilem, Mandopa, Modi, Ratvaddo, Rawanfond, Sinquetim, Sirvodem and Telaulim.