A fortnight after Easter on Monday, is when the people of Mapusa celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Milagres with grandeur. The feast which attracts devotees across faiths to St Jerome’s Church will be celebrated on Monday, April 16. NT BUZZ brings to you a few details and highlights
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
Residents of Mapusa await the Monday, 16 days, after Easter. Like in most parts of the world, in Goa too, there is a strong devotion to Mother Mary, and here, Milagres Saibinn is no exception. Considered to be the youngest sister of devi Lairai of Shirgao, she is revered across faiths.
Our Lady of Miracles is looked upon with faith especially when it comes to healing the sick and curing people of their illnesses.
There is an elaborate arrangement made for sale of wax and oil. On the feast day it will be available from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. which are sold for Rs 30. People buy various wax figurines representing various parts of the body and offer it to Our Lady invoking her intercession to cure people. Devotees stand in long queues to pour oil over the statue of Our Lady and Baby Jesus held in her arms while they devoutly ask for favours. People offer candles and flowers too.
“I make it a point to at least attend one novena if I can’t attend all nine,” says Analiza Fernandes from North Goa who made a vow that she would go every year and pour oil as thanksgiving for saving her husband.
The theme for this year’s feast is ‘Kristacho Mog: Milagres Saibinni Porim, Amkam Thar Dinam’. The feast mass at 10 a.m. will be celebrated by Fr Henry Falcao. This is an important feast in Goa which shows communal harmony and secularism as people from various faiths, especially the Hindu brethren come in large numbers to pray at the feet of Mother Mary. “I have been a regular for the Mapusa feast, and every year my faith becomes stronger as I see people from various religions descend to pray to Our Lady of Milagres, who many say never fails to answer prayers,” says Benny Fernandes from Mapusa.
As a child Milagres feast was a regular affair during the summer holiday when I would spend time with my maternal grand-parents. They would take me every evening for the novenas and I would wait to catch a glimpse of the angels dance and sing, ‘Anondbhorit- za Devache Maie, Sorvesporak zoi zoi…’. Later it would be spending time in the fair which ends only at Alankar theatre, while the stalls selling furniture, kitchenware and earthenware are on the main road parallel to the inner road which goes on for at least a month.
From khaje, to clothes, accessories and even earthenware and furniture, many people wait for this annual fair and it’s quite a big one. Children love spending time here at the toy and game stalls. Now in her late 20’s Sheena recalls a funny incident. “I was with my mom and aunt in the fair… probably five- years-old when I suddenly realised I was lost in the fair. I moved in some direction crying silently, scared and nervous, when a young couple saw me and asked why I was crying. I told them my aunt and mother were lost and then gave them the exact address of my house, and they dropped me back home, only to realise that they were my aunt’s friends.”
On the occasion of the feast the Mapusa Parish will be organising a three day ‘Milagres Entertainment Programme’ from Monday in the church compound at 7 p.m. As part of the programme a drama, ‘Porzoll’ written and directed by John D’Silva will be staged on Monday, April 16.
(Masses will be held at 5 a.m., 6.15 a.m., 7.30 a.m., 8.45 a.m., 10 a.m. (High Mass), 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.)