By Stanley Bantwal
Daijiworld Media Network—Mangalore (RD/CN)
Mangalore, Mar 29: The Way of the Cross was held at Blessed Joseph Vaz Hill shrine, Mudipu, on Sunday March 28. Hundreds and thousands of devotees from neighbouring parishes arrived to take part in the Ways of the Cross, especially during the Holy Week to get spiritual bliss. This is held every year, as a special devotion to the Lord, in His sufferings on the cross.
Fr Andrew D’Souza, parish priest of Blessed Joseph Vaz parish, Mudipu, held the preparatory session for the Ways of the Cross, at the parish before the solemnity.
Meanwhile, Fr Pradeep Correa, parish priest, St Lawrence parish, Bola, inaugurated www.mudipushrine.in the website of Blessed Joseph Vaz Hill shrine, Mudipu. Santhosh Meramajal briefed about the features of the website which was designed by Maurice D’Sa and Santhosh.
The Way of the Cross this year had the significance that it was the third centenary death anniversary of Blessed Joseph Vaz, who was born in Benevlin, Goa on April 21 1651. He was a devout Catholic, whi joined the seminary and was ordained a priest in 1676. He served in various parishes in the erstwhile South Canara diocese from 1681 to 1684. However, his missionary zeal and fearless preaching took him to Sri Lanka (earlier Ceylon) where he served from 1686 to 1711. He was revered as the patron of Sri Lanka.
Blessed Joseph Vaz Hill shrine is significant. While Fr Vaz was serving as parish priest of Our Lady of Mercy parish, Paneer, a few kilometres from Mudipu, a few men arrived in the night, asking him to accompany them to administer final sacraments to a sick parishioner in the neighbourhood of Mudipu.
The men had conspired to slay the priest, because he was a devout man. However, when they reached the top of the Hill, the men tried to kill him. The serene Fr Vaz knelt down on the rock and held his stick straight on the ground. A light flashed in their midst and the men could see water gushing from the spots where he knelt. Owing to this miracle, the men fled from the scene and Fr Vaz returned to the parish unharmed.
The spots where Blessed Joseph knelt has spring water running even now, while a well dug-up in the vicinity has no water at all. Thousands of pilgrims from all over India and Sri Lanka arrive at the Hill shrine, to seek his intercession in their sufferings and tribulations and take holy water with them. The pilgrims and the parish community ardently pray for the sainthood of Blessed Joseph Vaz.