Old Goa, Dec 3: “ St Francis left every thing, had conversion in his life after he met St Ingnatius of Loyola to proclaim the Gospel to the world” said Bishop Alex Dias, Bishop emeritus of the diocese of Port Blair.
He was delivering homily for the feast Mass of St Francis Xavier on December 3, at Old Goa, on the theme 'Stay with us Lord - to live Communion, Participation and Mission like St Francis Xavier'.
Bishop Alex Dias, bishop emeritus of the diocese of Port Blair, presided over the Eucharistic celebration along with Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Bishop, Bishop Alwyn Barretto, bishop of Sindhudurg, Fr Jose Remedios Fernandes, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, Fr Rosario Oliveira, parish priest of Se Cathedral, Old Goa, Fr Patricio Fernandes, rector of Bom Jesus Basilica, Old Goa, deacon Alvison Fernandes, deacon Kevin Fernandes and 26 priests as concelebrants.
Bishop Dias recalled the youthful days of St Francis Xavier, and said that after his conversion his only concern was to proclaim the word of God. He appeal the thousands of faithful assembled for the feast mass, to love the Word of God and give the same to the other.
“Church exists only to evangelise. But some people fail to understand the meaning of evangelisation and they say, it is conversion.” Bishop Alex Dias said. Explaining the meaning of conversion, he took the example of St Francis Xavier, who left his sinful life accepted holy life. “Catholic church is involved in all kinds of Ministry such as Educational, Social work, Health ministry etc.
All these is to evangelise, to spread the message of Jesus.” He added.
Fr Seby Vaz, assistant parish priest of Se Cathedral Church led the liturgical singing for a meaningful liturgy. Fr Afonso Mendonca, director of Diocesan Liturgical Centre, animated the liturgy and Deac. Melito D’Costa was the liturgical commentator.
Chief Minister of Goa, Dr Pramod Sawant, minister for Waste Management, Michael Lobo and MLAs, Alex Reginald Laurenco, Glen Ticlo, Joshua D’Souza, Vijay Sardessai, Luizinho Faleiro, Francis Silveira and other govt officials were present on the occasion.
Other Masses on the day of the feast were at 3.30, 5, 6.30, 8, 12.30 in the morning and 2, 3.30, 5 and 6.15 (English) in the evening. Novena in preparation to the feast began on November 24 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, Portuguese, and English apart from Konkani during the days of Novena.
Two/three deaneries together celebrated 8.15 am Mass during the days of novena. Ten Masses were held each day during novena.
An inter-religious prayer meet was also organised in the main pandal during one of the days of Novena. Men religious congregations also celebrated evening mass during the days of the novena.
Refrain from any acts and decisions which are illilegal and detrimental to the preservation of religious and heritage sanctity of Old Goa: Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão
Speaking on the occasion, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão, appealed to all those in authorities to refrain from any acts and decisions which are illilegal and detrimental to the preservation of the religious and heritage sanctity of Old Goa.
“We are all gathered not only at a holy place but world renowned heritage recognised by the Central Government, by that I mean Archaelogical Survey of India ( ASI) and also by UNESCO,” archbishop said.
“We should know that any undue or offensive interventions even by the legitimate stakeholders in and around these monuments can have great consequences and even attractthe derecognition of their World Heritage status which would be a tremendous and severe loss to Goa,” archbishop added.
"In this context, I would like to express the solidarity of the Church in Goa with several of our brothers and sisters of different faiths, who have been undertaking various demonstrations for many days now, in protest against some obnoxious activities in this heritage site,” he said further.