At a distance of 4 km from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand, 29 km from Vasco Da Gama Railway Station and 17 km from Mapusa, Church of Our Lady of Help is situated in North Goa.
The Church of Our Lady of Help stands on the banks of the Mandovi River in Ribandar. This Church is also known as Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda. It was built like a ship in 1565. The earliest chapel constructed in Ribandar was in between 1551 and 1554. It was dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and it was affiliated to the early Church of Our Lady of Livra Febres in Chimbel.
The present Church of Our Lady of Help was built by Portuguese sailors in thanks to Our Lady who saved their lives from a ship wreck. According to legend Our Lady appeared miraculously during a terrible storm in which the ship was caught in the Arabian Sea. It is said that she stood on the forecastle all through that momentous night, directing the devil himself to maneuver the ship to safety. To venerate the miracle, the Church of Our Lady of Help has been constructed where that ship had found a safe morning and interestingly the structure of the Church is the exact length, breadth and height of the renowned ship. The ship bringing the body of St. Francis Xavier from Malacca was welcomed with canon salute at this church on the night of 14th March 1554.
The church was reconstructed in 1711. The church is in Mannerist Neo-Roman style and it has three storeys. The facade is a peaked gable and has an oculus in the centre. It has a large three storey bell tower to the right. In front of the church there is a big cross that once belonged to the Chorao Seminary. Above the arch of the main altar is a painting of a ship with Our Lady depicted on it. A similar fresco is found on the exterior wall on the side of the river. The false ceiling had panels depicting episodes from the Old Testament. Legends say that the false ceiling was built from the wood of the wrecked ship.
This Church has four altars. The main altar is dedicated to the Patron. In 1841, an altar-piece was brought from the College of St. Augustine. To the right of Our Lady of Ajuda is placed St. Anthony and Saint Monica. On the left is Saint Peter and Saint Augustine. Above the second altar is the statue of Jesus Resurrected and below is the statue of Menino Jesus. Saint Sebastian and Our Lady of Assumption are on the side. The pulpit has a niche with the image of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, which belonged to the ancient chapel.
At the Church of Our Lady of Help, Mary's Feast is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of November.