Sancoale, Jan 17: St Joseph Vaz, son of our soil, made sacrifices, experienced Jesus and enthusiastically proclaimed Jesus as a missionary,” said Bishop Alwyn Barretto, Bishop of Sindhudurg diocese, delivering homily on the theme, “Having experienced you deeply, stay with us Jesus, that we may be joyful witnesses through the example of St Joseph Vaz.” Bishop Baretto was the main celebrant on the feast day of St. Joseph Vaz, Patron of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman celebrated at the site of the old Church of Our Lady of Health, Rua Escravo de Maria, Sancoale. St Joseph Vaz wrote a letter of Bondage to Mother Mary at this church on 5th August, 1677.
St Joseph Vaz is a Goan saint, canonized on January 14, 2015 by Pope Francis.
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, archbishop of Goa and Daman, Bishop Lumen Monteiro, Bishop of Agartala, Bishop Alex Dias, Bishop-Emeritus of Port Blair Fr Jose Remedios Fernandes, Vicar General of the diocese Fr Romeo Monteiro, Chancellor of the diocese Fr Kenneth Teles, parish priest of Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Fr Manuel Dias, rector of the Sanctuary of St Joseph Vaz, Fr Lucio Dias, Episcopal Vicar of South Zone and other priests concelebrated.
All Masses on the Feast Day were live-streamed on the archdiocesan website, the CCRTV and other TV channels and also on their respective YouTube channels.
Recalling the holy, simple life and mission of St. Joseph Vaz in South Canara and Ceylon, appealed the faithful to experience Jesus and witness him in all situations. He also asked the faithful to participate in the preparation process of the Synod of Bishops for the growth of the church.
Citing the example of wise men, who came to worship Jesus, Bishop said that after meeting Jesus and experiencing him, they returned through the new way. “When we meet Jesus and experience him, we change our lives, otherwise we are Christians for the name-sake,” Bishop Barretto said. He reminded the faithful of the instructions given by Jesus to his disciples, which helped them to proclaim Jesus.
“St Paul, experienced Jesus, and made missionary journeys to proclaim him,” Bishop Barretto said.
Speaking on the occasion, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão conveyed his festal wishes and blessings to all and said that St Joseph Vaz, made a deep personal experience of Jesus and empowered by this experience, he was a tireless witness of the Gospel that Jesus thought here in Goa, in the neighbouring Kanara and Mangalore and very especially in Sri Lanka.
“May the inspiring example of his life, lead all of us, especially the members of the Church in Goa to strive to have a personal experience of Jesus, the archbishop said. “May this deep intimacy with Jesus, empower us like our patron saint to witness to Jesus in our day today life,” Archbishop added.
“We had begun our preparations for the novena and the feast of St Joseph Vaz with fervour and enthusiasm, but surge in COVID cases, had to face many difficulties. But God through the intercession of St. Joseph Vaz helped us to celebrate this feast,” said Fr Kenneth Teles, parish priest of Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale. “We had made arrangement for 2,000 faithful to participate, but due to COVID restrictions, we had to adhere to the government restrictions to only 100 people, taking care of the health of the faithful,” Fr Teles added.
Other masses on the feast day were celebrated by Fr Joaquim Fernandes SVD, rector of SVD Seminary, Raia, Fr Xavier Braganza, parish priest, Our Lady of Desterro Church, Desterro, Fr Simon Diniz, parish priest, St Philip and James Church, Cortalim, Fr Dennis Fernandes, episcopal vicar for North Zone and parish priest, St Jerome’s Church, Mapusa, Fr Seby Mascarenhas Sfx, superior general of the Society of Pilar and Fr Donato Rodrigues of Rachol Seminary and Fr Peter Britto, assistant parish priest, Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale.
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão welcomed the concelebrants bishops, priests and the faithful. Rosario Fernandes was the liturgical commentator while Fr Agustine Afonso, assistant parish priest of Savior of the World Church, Lotoulim, made liturgical arrangement. Clifford Pereira led the liturgical choir. Fr Manuel Dias, rector of the Sanctuary of St Joseph thanked all.