By LIDA JOAO
Catholics all over the world celebrate the feast of St Anne – the grandmother of Jesus Christ and the mother of Mary - as Grandparents Day.
Her spouse St Joachim was of the royal house of David, while Anne was a Levitical descendent. They led a very prayerful life and did many good works, but they were childless for 20 years, and this was held as a bitter misfortune among the Jews. But the Lord answered their prayer and when Anne was well advanced in age Mary was born.
After her birth Anne and Joachim dedicated Mary to God at the temple of Jerusalem.
It was the parents of Mary who nurtured her, taught her, brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God’s request with faith; ‘Let it be done to me as you will’. They set an example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus Christ. It was also their faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed her to stand up by the cross as her son was crucified.
Such parents are role models for all parents and therefore the Church observes their feast day as Grandparents Day, so that all parents may provide a loving home, pass on vital wisdom and faithful teaching to their children. So we all need to thank God for our grandparents and parents who have inculcated good values in us.
St Anne is also the patron saint for fertility, women in labour and childless couples. St Anne’s motherly intercession is invoked so that the sanctity of all life is recognised, and that all mothers will be given the strength and support to bear witness to the great gift of life. A mother is the epitome of all that is beautiful, graceful and filled with compassion and guides her child’s every step, helps them to grow and is the main anchor for the child.
In elite Goan homes, the main altar is dedicated to St Anne and the annual Ladainha de Santa Ana and ora¢ão de Santa Ana are recited.
There are even foods related to St Anne and Joachim. Shellfish and lobster are served in France on St Anne’s Day.
In Goa, at the Santa Ana church at Talaulim, Tiswadi-Bardez, devotees offer locally grown farm products to St Anne – offerings of cucumber (pepino), pulses (urido) bangles (manilho) are offered for marital harmony and spoon (colher) for a good life partner.
This year the feast at Santa Ana Church, Talaulim, where Fr Lourdinho Pereira is the Pe Vigar (parish priest), will be celebrated on July 31. Let us all pray to Saint Anne with a great devotion.
Santa Ana, rogai por nós
(Timings for services are as follows: 6:30 am, 8:30 am and 4 pm. The High Mass will be at 10 am. The main celebrant will be father Anselmo Fernandes the rector of Pilar Major Seminary. The traffic route will be one way from Curca to St Anne Church. The return route will be from St Anne Church to Batim to Goa Velha. This has been done to avoid traffic congestion)