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St Xavier's relics on exposition
Sandesh Prabhudesai in Panaji | November 22, 2004 22:41 IST
Last Updated: November 23, 2004 17:13 IST
The decadal event of exposition of the sacred relics of St Francis Xavier got underway at the Basilica of Boom Jesus in old Gao on Monday amidst tight security.
The event, which will continue for the next 40 days, is considered one of the most important religious and spiritual events for Christians all over the world.
The casket containing the saint's relics was brought out of the basilica in a procession led by priests of different parishes and taken to the St Paul's Cathedral across the road. It will be kept there for veneration.
During the hour-long mass outside the basilica with religious songs and music by the choir, Archbishop Daman Felipe Nero Ferro said: "As the pilgrims in this journey of life, we should create a society of peace and goodwill and lead a life of fellowship.
"The main purpose of the exposition is to help us deepen and invigorate our faith in Jesus. We must practise the virtues of humble service, a caring attitude and a reconciliatory nature, which allows us to give and receive forgiveness."
Goa Governor S C Jamir and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar were among the 10,000 pilgrims present on the occasion.
The saint died in 1552 and his body has survived organic decomposition for four and a half centuries. Popularly referred locally as 'Honcho Saab', he walked barefoot, lived a humble life and mingled with the laity during the Portuguese rule.
St Xavier's face is still discernable although the skin has peeled off in certain parts. His body lies straight in the casket while one of his hands with the bony palm rests on the chest. The feet are exposed with the whole body covered in a printed silk cloth. Many still believe the body is still fresh.
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