Lawrence Coelho

Publisher, The Secular Citizen
Profile by Dr. Jeanette Pinto
The Catholic community in Mumbai are familiar with ‘The Secular Citizen’ (TSC), a National Family Weekly, published by Mr. Lawrence Coelho.  The 24 page magazine celebrates twenty-five glorious years in the field of communication. Congratulations Mr. Coelho to your brainchild, commitment and dedication, to this magazine which provides a wide coverage on the Christian community.  It has a page devoted to Vox Populi (Voices of the People), which contains inspirational articles, updates of events, happenings in the Catholic Church, and a variety of articles, most of them written by well-known writers.  There is a mix of spiritual, social, inspirational, political, and secular news, as well as new trends in society.  
The first issue, in magazine format, was published in April 1992.  This was preceded as a quarterly issue under the masthead of ‘The New Horizon’ in December 1991.
Lawrence Coelho, the eldest child in the family hails from the village of Inna, belonging to the Belman Parish (now bifurcated and known as Mukamar Parish), Mangaluru. He has four siblings, three sisters and a brother.  The family was poor and lived very modestly, with his father being a taxi driver in Bombay, and mother, a home maker. Lawrence received his elementary education in Mangaluru, and completed his graduation in Bombay.  The other siblings were educated in Bombay.
He did not have any special hobbies, but early in life, Lawrence was passionately involved in parish and diocesan activities.  He yearned for opportunities to involve in social outreach, and participated in church based initiatives.  Gradually, and single-mindedly, he focused on publications.  It gripped his imagination and, thereafter, publishing triggered his venture into entrepreneurship.  He saw the need of the Christian community to have a mouthpiece for community expression.  Thus, keen to fulfill this need through his publication, he was fired to start ‘The Secular Citizen’, and three years later, yet another venture in the establishment of ‘Divo’, a magazine in Konkani, which incidentally was earlier hand composed.
Dr. Jeanette Pinto, Member of the Editorial Board of the Amchi Khobor News Magazine, visited the small cozy office of Mr. Coelho in South Bombay, and in her conversation with him, learnt he has no journalistic background.  Despite this, it is amazing, Mr. Coelho is the Founder-Owner-Publisher, all rolled in one.  His first Editor, was and is still, Philip Myaboo.  Lawrence takes personal interest in the selection, editing and collation of materials for each issue.  There are suitable attractive colour pictures, news and views, and matrimonial columns reaching out to the young community.  His miniscule dedicated team help in the layout and design of every issue, and the cover page is always attractive and eye catching.
Mr. Coelho’s greatest support is his dear wife, Susan.  The simple unassuming couple works like two peas in a pod.  She looks into the subscriber’s lists, and the postal service is at her fingertips.  She personally and stoically supervises the dispatch of every issue of the two publications across the length and breadth of the country.  Lawrence says, “my wife’s dedication and involvement in the TSC, and its sister publication Divo, is to be greatly appreciated.  She represents the group at various events, and is the Public Relations Officer, and Finance Controller, too”.  He further adds, “we take decisions together”. On her part, Susan is very appreciative of her husband’s project, and supports him one hundred percent.  They trust and understand each other, and that really is, the secret of their success.
Lawrence Coelho has also been generous in instituting awards and honouring achievers in various spheres of life.  Their awards are citations, floral bouquets, ceremonial shawls, and often times, a generous sum of money in cash.  Some of the awardees are Anthony Parakal (‘King of Letter Writers’), Mr. Marshall Sequeira (‘Writer of the Year’), and there are other awards for social and cultural meets.  TSC is now available in e-paper edition for online readers. The e-learning portal which is an online learning web-site is a great boost.  It offers help to develop skills for those interested in learning more about academic and corporate topics.  What more can a slim magazine offer?
A thoroughbred Mangalorean, his message to Gen Next is, “don’t forget your roots, culture and traditions.  That is what binds us, if lost we will become extinct over time”.  Indeed, it is a matter of pride that a publication by a member of the Kanara Christian community has reached its 25th milestone, whereas some others have gone into hibernation along the way.  Lawrence, a self-made person, still harbours a keen desire to introduce a daily newspaper, and by the grace of God, may his dream come true.
The KCA is proud of both of you, Lawrence and Susan.  You are indeed an inspiration to our young generation to understand that hard work, focus, and dedication to a cause are the keys to success.  

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Founded in 1901, the Kanara Catholic Association (KCA), Mumbai is the premier community organization of the Mangalorean Catholic community of Mumbai.  With approximately 800 members on its rolls, the KCA has a rich legacy of service to the community & society at large. 

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