Panaji: Bells to peal in Goa when Pope canonises saint

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Panaji, Jan 9 (IANS) Bells in all the Goan churches will peal in delight Jan 14 as Blessed Joseph Vaz, a Catholic saint of Goan origin, will be canonised by Pope Francis in Sri Lanka, an official said here.

“The canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz Jan 14 is the culmination of over three centuries of expectation and supplication on the part of his devotees from Goa, Mangalore, Sri Lanka and elsewhere,” Archbishop Father Filipe Neri Ferrao said Friday.

Vaz was born in Goa April 21, 1651, at a time when the Portuguese, who were Catholic, had already entrenched in the state for nearly a 150 years.

In 1686, Vaz left for Sri Lanka to propagate Catholicism in Dutch-held Sri Lanka, where Calvinism, a major Protestant branch, had started taking root. His socio-religious contributions in Sri Lanka earned him accolades and the title ‘Blessed’ subsequently.

Vaz, is Sri Lanka’s first saint and the third Indian to be conferred sainthood by the Vatican.

Ferrao, whose archdiocese spreads over Goa and the union territory of Daman also, said that Goans across the globe were “spiritually and eagerly” awaiting the canonisation of Vaz and “as a sign of our deep spiritual communion with the Church gathered in Colombo, bells be pealed at 9 a.m. Jan 14 in all the churches and chapels of our Archdiocese”.

The Catholic church is an influential institution in the state whose 1.5 million population includes 26 percent Catholics.

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