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Feast of St. Francis Xavier

By Anil Sastry

PANAJI, DEC. 3. All roads in Goa today led to Old Goa, where people in thousands attended the annual Feast of St. Francis Xavier. Over two lakh devotees from across the country as well as abroad attended the Feast, which had a Pontifical Mass performed by an assembly of high-ranking clergy, including Pedro Lopez Quintana, the Apostolic Nuncio in India.

The Feast, featuring various ceremonies to honour the Saint's death, is celebrated on December 3, the day he was buried, every year. It assumed more significance this year due to the 16th Solemn Exposition of holy relics of the Saint from November 21 to January 2. The silver casket containing the remains of the Saint is kept at the Se Cathedral for the veneration and kissing of devotees since November 21.

The Archbishop-Patriarch of Goa Archdiocese, Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop-Patriarch Emeritus Raul Gonsalves, Papal Nuncio in South Africa, Blasco Colaco, Bishop of Meerut, Patrick Nair and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Brussels, Luk De Hovre formed the assembly of the clergy. Apostolic Nuncio Quintana is the second Spaniard — the first being St. Francis Xavier himself — to be the Papal Nuncio in India.

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