Goan Community

The Archdiocese of Goa has issued a decree announcing the exposition, which is witnessed by several lakhs of people every ten years.

In conformity with a long standing practice, followed in this Archdiocese of holding solemn exposition of the sacred relics of St Francis Xavier every 10 years, we determine that the solemn exposition be held in 2014, beginning on November 22 and end on January 4, 2015,” says a press release by Goa Church, which announced the decree recently.

Saint Francis Xavier 

Francis Xavier, a Basque, was born in Spain April 7, 1506. He was the first Jesuit missionary to have devoted much of his life to missions in Asia, after being requested by King John III of Portugal, to go to Asia where the king believed that Christian values were eroding among the Portuguese.

On 7 April, 1541, he embarked in a sailing vessel for India, and after a tedious and dangerous voyage landed at Goa, 6 May, 1542. The first five months he spent in preaching and ministering to the sick in the hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a number, he would take them to a certain church and would there explain the catechism to them.

About October, 1542, he started for the pearl fisheries of the extreme southern coast of the peninsula, desirous of restoring Christianity which, although introduced years before, had almost disappeared on account of the lack of priests. He devoted almost three years to the work of preaching to the people of Western India, converting many, and reaching in his journeys even the Island of Ceylon.

Many were the difficulties and hardships which Francis Xavier had to encounter at this time, sometimes on account of the cruel persecutions which some of the petty kings of the country carried on against the neophytes, and again because the Portuguese soldiers, far from seconding the work of the saint, retarded it by their bad example and vicious habits.

He died Dec. 3, 1552, on Sancian island just short of his ultimate goal: China. but his body was shipped to Goa on December 11, 1553, since then it is preserved in a casket here in the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The basilica and the mausoleum there that holds the relics of saint Francis Xavier are a popular pilgrimage site year round. Every 10 years the relics are moved in solemn procession to the nearby Se Cathedral where they are available for public veneration for 44 days.

Some 2.5 million pilgrims of a variety of religious traditions venerated the relics 10 years ago. The hope has been that Pope Francis will be among the visitors next year. Francis has suggested he may visit Sri Lanka next year, but there has been no word about his visiting Goa.

There are many Catholics from Goa, India who are now part of the Parish of St Joseph’s in Maidenhead.

Here is a link to the Catholic Community in Goa.