Goa: Bishop Of Baroda Describes St Francis Xavier As State’s Heritage

Goa: Bishop Of Baroda Describes St Francis Xavier As State’s Heritage

Focusing his homily on the theme for the Feast, ‘Like St Francis Xavier, let us do what Jesus did’, Bishop Sebastião Mascarenhas said that until and unless one experiences Jesus first, one won’t be able to be like Jesus.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Tuesday, December 05, 2023, 07:35 PM IST
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The Goan Network

Old Goa: Describing St Francis Xavier, fondly hailed as ‘Goencho Saib’ as the heritage of Goa, Bishop of Baroda Sebastião Mascarenhas on Monday exhorted the Catholic community to take this heritage forward to bring peace, unity, to reach to the poor and to be forgiving in families and communities.

He was delivering his homily as the main celebrant at the Feast Mass at 10.30 am. The other con-celebrants at the Mass were his brother and newly appointed Bishop of Daltonganj Theodore Mascarenhas, Archbishop of Goa and Daman Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão, Bishop Alex Dias Sfx, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Port Blair, Bishop of Sindhudurg Allwyn Barretto, Vicar General Fr Jose Remedios Fernandes, Rector of Bom Jesus Basilica Fr Patricio Fernandes, Parish Priest of Se Cathedral Church Fr Rosario Oliveira, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Rosary Church (Caranzalem) Fr Pio Fernandes and over 40 priests.

Focusing his homily on the theme for the Feast, ‘Like St Francis Xavier, let us do what Jesus did’, Bishop Sebastião Mascarenhas said that until and unless one experiences Jesus first, one won’t be able to be like Jesus.

“St Francis came from a kingly family but he gave up everything and came to Goa as he experienced Jesus. He was sent as an ambassador of the Pope but he lived a down to earth life and served the sick inmates on the ship that he boarded to Goa,” he stated, while adding that in Goa, he continued living a simple life by being in service of the poor, the downtrodden and the sick.

St Francis Xavier's legacy

“St Francis Xavier wanted to bring all people together and he sowed the seed of Jesus among us to be like Jesus. He is the heritage of Goa and we should take this heritage forward to bring peace, unity, to reach to the poor and to be forgiving in our own family and our communities,” said Bishop Sebastião Mascarenhas, who was the former Superior General of the Missionaries of St Francis Xavier (Pilar Fathers).

“The Pope has declared the year of hope because there is war everywhere, there is fighting everywhere and there is exploitation everywhere with the poor getting poorer,” he stated while stating that amidst all this, there is still hope if we believe in Jesus just like St Francis Xavier.

“St Francis was praying through which he got inspiration to give Jesus to others. If we experience Jesus, then only we can do what Jesus did and nobody can stop us, just like St Francis Xavier,” the Bishop said.

Later, in his thanksgiving address, Bishop Mascarenhas stated that he is thankful for being invited for the feast as Old Goa has a special ambience because of the presence of St Francis Xavier.

“I immediately accepted the invite and had to even postpone some meetings,” he added.

Fr Afonso Mendonça, Director of Diocesan Liturgical Centre, animated the liturgy and Deacon Rayan D’Souza was the liturgical commentator. Fr Patricio Fernandes proposed a vote of thanks.

Thousands of devotees throng to honour ‘Goencho Saib’

Thousands of devotees from all over Goa and beyond thronged Old Goa on Monday to participate in the Feast of St Francis Xavier, even as the day passed off peacefully and in a prayerful atmosphere.

Throughout the day, 12 Masses were celebrated with the earliest being at 3.45 am and the final one at 6 pm. For the convenience of the hearing impaired, there was interpretation by an interpreter in sign language.

The morning Masses were in particular jam packed with people thronging in large numbers to participated in the services. The large number of Church volunteers, given special vests for the first time, were also instrumental in maintaining discipline among devotees.

There was also a long queue of devotees and pilgrims to enter the Basilica so that they could pray at the Sacred Relics of St Francis Xavier.

The devotees also gathered near the statue of the saint to pray and offer garlands and candles. As always, the fair continued to be a hit among all as stalls selling difference items and eatables were frequented by the visitors.

The stalls selling the local sweets were the most sought after among the devotees. The amusement park also saw people, particularly the kids, enjoying themselves.

A large number of beggars were also seen begging at places which were frequented by the devotees in the hope of getting alms.

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