The Redemptorist Students of Theology from Mount St. Alphonsus, Bangalore, of the provinces of Bangalore and Liguori and the V. Province of Majella (39 in all) together with the prefect and Socius and the Parish Priest of Holy Ghost Church in Bangalore went of pilgrimage on the 8thand 9th December 2014 to Goa on the West coast of India for the exposition of the relics of St. Francis Xavier. This is the 17th time the saint’s body is being exposed in Goa since the first time in 1782. Born in Spain in 1506, St. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Society of Jesus, reached Goa in 1541, then a Portuguese colony. After baptizing thousands along the coast of peninsular South India, he left for East Asia in 1545 and returned to Goa in 1551. During his second trip to East Asia, he fell sick and died at the age of 46 on China’s Sancian Island, Dec. 3, 1552. The remains of the Saint are usually kept in a casket at the Basilica of Bom Jesus. Once every 10 years they are put on public display. St Francis Xavier is the Patron Saint of India and Goa and of Catholic Missions.
The Redemptorist Students of Theology were hosted by the Vice Province of Majella in the St Gerard Majella Study House for Philosophy at Varca in Goa. The 10 students of Philosophy joined the students of Theology and together with the Redemptorists of the three communities of Goa (Porvorrim, Sanquelim and Varca) made the pilgrimage together. The pilgrimage consisted of a special mass in the morning at the shrine celebrated by Fr Xavier Pinto and assisted by Fr Joseph Ivel Mendanha, (Vice Provincial elect of the V Province of Majella) followed by a solemn procession to the Cathedral for the viewing of the relics.
The whole group was hosted for lunch at the Diocesan Pastoral Institute of Goa. The entire group then viewed a special audio visual exhibition on the life of the Saint and then went on a tour of Goa including a visit to the Pilar Missionary Seminary and the Shrine of Blessed Joseph Vaz (patron of Goa and Apostle to Sri Lanka) who will soon be canonized in Sri Lanka. The Students then enjoyed the hospitality of the Vice Province of Majella in an evening excursion, diner, and a morning at the nearby beach. The Students returned to Bangalore by train the following day after a very eventful religious, cultural, historical and relaxing experience.
Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R.