St Francis Xavier an Inspiration to Proclaim the Gospel in our time and ways – Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha
Old Goa: “Inspired by the Word of God, strengthened by the Eucharist and taking the help of prayer, St. Francis Xavier lived a life of faith and gave the same faith to the people in Goa and whole of Asia. He becomes an inspiration to proclaim the Gospel in our time and in our own simple ways.” said Bishop Peter Paul Saldana, Bishop of the Diocese of Mangaluru. Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha was delivering the homily at the Solemnity of St. Francis Xavier at Old Goa. Bishop Peter Paul presided over the Eucharistic celebration along with Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Auxillary Bishop of Ranchi diocese, Bishop Alex Dias, Bishop Emeritus of Port Blair, Fr. Jose Remedios Fernandes, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, Fr Alfred Vaz, Parish Priest of Se Cathedral, Old Goa, Fr Patricio Fernandes, Rector of Bom Jesus Basilica, Old Goa, Fr Elvis Fernandes SFX, Spiritual Director of Pilar Seminary, Fr Saturnino Colaco of St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Centre, Old Goa and 60 priests as concelebrants.
“After St. Paul, St. Francis is the one who proclaimed Jesus through catechism, Gospel and sacraments, going villages to villages, town and cities without fear and with no compromise.” Bishop Saldanha said further. Raising the basic question about our openness and willingness/readiness to proclaim the Gospel, Bishop Saldanha, called the thousands of faithful gathered in a huge erected pandal in front of the Basilica, to become disciples of Christ and to read and reflect on the Word of God. He also explained what is meant to be a missionary. “To go in search of our brothers and sisters, to know them and make them ready for the kingdom of God.” is the task of a missionary.” He stated.
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao welcomed the faithful and the other dignitaries. Fr Patricio delivered a vote of thanks. Fr Simon D’cunha, Chaplain of St. Joaquim Chapel, Borda led the liturgical singing for a meaningful liturgy. Fr Afonso Mendonca, Director of Diocesan Liturgical Centre, animated the liturgy and Deac. Daryll Dias was the liturgical commentator.
Chief Minister of Goa, Dr Pramod Sawant, TCP minister, Babu Kavlekar, PWD minister Deepak Pauskar, Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho, Minister for Waste Management, Michael Lobo and MLAs, Digambar Kamat, Reginald Laurenco, Glen Ticlo, Joshua D’Souza, Vijay Sardessai, Rohan Khaunte, Luizinho Falleiro, Francis Silveira and Goa Congress Pradesh Congress Chief, Girish Chodankar, Congress spokesperson Trajano D’Mello and other govt officials were present on the occasion.
Other masses on the day of the feast were at 4, 5, 6,7,8, 9,12.30 in the morning and 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the evening. Novena in preparation to the feast began on 24th November wherein each day was dedicated for the intention of all the centres, commissions and other bodies of the Archdiocese. A day for the Priests, Religious Brothers and consecrated women were also dedicated. There were masses in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, French, Italian, Telugu, Portuguese, Marathi, Kanada, Spanish and English apart from Konkani during the days of Novena. Parishes of Ribandar, Vaddem-Curdi, Macasana, Raia, Sao Jose de Areal, Cotto Fatorpa, Nagoa, Pilerne and Baina celebrated 8.15 a.m.mass during the days of novena.
An inter-religious prayer meet was also organised in the main pandal during one of the days of Novena. Men religious congregations celebrated 6:15 pm evening mass during the days of the novena.
by Bro John Malvino Alfonso