The feast of saint Francis Xavier was celebrated with great solemnity and religious fervor by Goans from all walk of life on Saturday. The festival is also known as the Goinchea Saibache Fest. People throng to the Basilica of Bom Jesus from near and far come to celebrated the feast.
The solemn feast mass was presided by the Apostolic Nuncio to India, Leopoldo Girelli and Bishop of Sindhdurg along with Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrao. On the feast day masses were held as early at 4am with the solemn high mass at 10.30am.
“Goa was like a beacon of faith in the past and we have to be a beacon for all in India as St Francis Xavier who was not only Goan by birth but became Goan by heart said Apostolic Nuncio Leopoldo Girelli during the holy Eucharistic celebration..
Apostolic Nuncio Leopoldo Girelli further said that that he is overjoyed to be present in this historic Basilica to celebrate the feast.
“Pope Francis noted the purpose of sending disciples to the villages is not to socialise or spend time together, but to proclaim the kingdom of God and this is urgent. It is also urgent today, not just during the time of St. Francis Xavier, but today.. there is no time to be lost in gossip, no need to wait for everyone’s concern, what is necessary is to go out and proclaim” said Girelli
Ending his sermon, Most. Rev. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli said that everyone should resolve to give Christ the centre place in their lives and to obey God’s command, to go forward and become disciples of all nations.
“May St Francis Xavier, patron of East Indies and St. Joseph Vaz, patron of Archdiocese, inspire you all to be faithful to the word of our Lord Jesus Christ.. and may God bless each and everyone of you” he further said
St Francis Xavier was a Catholic missionary and devoted his life to preaching about Jesus Christ to masses around the world. He went from village to village in South eastern India, spending most of his time among Paravas, a community of poor pearl fishers. He later decided to go to China to continue missionary activities. However, he fell sick and died on his way there. Close to four centuries have passed since the venerated saint’s death. However, his remains, kept in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa in a silver casket are believed to be in good condition even today.