Feast of St Francis Xavier today

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The novenas, religious preparations and festivities will reach their climax with the feast of St Francis Xavier on Monday.

PANAJI: The novenas, religious preparations and festivities will reach their climax with the feast of St Francis Xavier on Monday.

The saint widely regarded as one of the main reasons why the state has not been hit by calamities – natural or otherwise -- was originally from Navarre, Spain and landed in Goa in 1542 during the Portuguese colonial rule to spread Christianity. He is held in reverence by the Christians and a large section of the majority Hindu population too.

The feast mass will be concelebrated by main celebrant Archbishop of Delhi Anil Couto, and co-celebrants Archbishop of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri Ferrao and Archbishop Emeritus Raul Gonsalves. This mass will be at 10.30 a.m. and it will be streamed live via video live stream on the Archdiocesan website www.archgoadaman.org.

Besides the feast mass, other masses will be at 4 a.m., 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 12.30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.

The 3 p.m. mass will be in Spanish, while the last mass will be in English.

St Francis Xavier, or Goencho Saib as he is called, resides in the state physically -- in the church which formerly belonged to the Jesuit Society -- as well in the minds of the people. His physical body – minus his arm -- lies in repose at the Bom Jesus basilica and is worshipped by believers from all over the country and the world at large.

This giant of a man, considered as the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, was born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa in Navarre, on April 7, 1506 and died on Shangchuan Island near the Chinese coast on December 2, 1552.

He first landed in Goa on May 6, 1542, where the first five months were spent in preaching and in hospitals.

St Francis was on his way to China when he breathed his last. People venerate his uncorrupted body.