Sancoale: Feast of St. Joseph Vaz celebrated in Goa

Br. John Malvino Alfonso OCD Pics. Joseph Fernandes

Sancoale, Jan 16: “St. Joseph Vaz is a great missionary. He went out of Goa and worked as a missionary in difficult situations. His exemplary life as a missionary inspires us to be faithful to our missionary vocation.” Said Bishop Theodore MascarenhasSfx. Bishop of Daltonganj Diocese. While delivering a homily for the feast mass of St. Joseph Vaz on the theme: Let us truly follow Jesus after the exemple of St Joseph Vaz.” “As God strengthen Prophet Jeremiah in the words: 'Do not be afraid of them.' St. Joseph Vaz fearlessly lived his missionary vocation taking heed of the words of Jesus, ‘Do not be afraid.” Said the prelate Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas Sfx , Bishop of Daltonganj presided over the Eucharistic celebration on the feast day of St. Joseph Vaz, Patron of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman celebrated at the site of the old Church of Our Lady of Health, Rua Escravo de Maria, Sancoale.

St. Joseph Vaz wrote a letter of Bondage to Mother Mary at this church on 5th August 1677. St. Joseph Vaz is a Goan saint, canonized on 14th January 2015 by Pope Francis.

Bishop Theodore commemorated the life of St. Joseph Vaz, highlighting instances where the saint fearlessly served the faithful in Sri Lanka, administering sacraments creatively in challenging situations. Despite facing threats to his life, such as an incident in Mudipu, Mangalore, where individuals attempted harm due to his faith, St. Joseph Vaz miraculously survived. The bishop emphasized the saint's unwavering commitment, stating that, like St. Joseph Vaz, believers should heed Jesus' call to fearlessness. The prelate encouraged a strong faith that transcends apprehension, persecution, and illness, echoing the missionary spirit of St. Joseph Vaz, who taught the importance of knowing, experiencing, and living one's faith while fearlessly proclaiming it to others.

Archbishop Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Bishop Alwyn Barretto, Bishop of Sindhudurg, Bishop Lumen Monteiro, Bishop of Agartala, Bishop Alex Dias, Bishop-Emeritus of Port Blair, Fr. Jose Remedios Fernandes, Vicar General of the diocese, Fr. Valerian Vaz, Rector of Seminary of Our Lady, Saligao, Fr. Lucio Dias, Episcopal Vicar for South Zone, Fr. Raju Selvaraj, Fr. Kenneth Teles, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Deacon Joao Gonsalves, Deacon Rayan D'souza and 50 priests concelebrated.

Other masses on the feast day were celebrated by Fr. Agnelo Pinheiro (Professor, Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol), Fr. Jean Da Cruz Fernandes (Parish Priest, Our Lady of Bethlehem Church, Chandor), Fr. Edson Fernandes (Parish Priest, Our Lady of Succour and Good Success, Nagoa-Salcete), Fr. Joe Rodrigues ( Parish Priest, Our Lady of Grace Church, Margao), Fr. Peter DeMelo Sfx ( Rector, All India Mission Seminary, Pilar) and Fr. Xavier Branganza ( Parish Priest, Our Lady of Desterro Church, Desterro) Mass in the Oratory room of St. Joseph Vaz was also celebrated by Fr. Roblan Mascarenhas

Speaking on the ocassion Bishop Theodore expressed gratitude to Cardinal Ferrão for entrusting him with the responsibility of presiding over the festive mass. He acknowledged the unwavering love and support extended by the faithful in Goa to both Bishop and Priests in their respective parishes. "One source of pride for the Goan community is their commitment to traditional communal harmony." Said Bishop Theodore. Emphasizing the need for collective efforts, regardless of religious affiliations, Bishop Theodore urged all to unite for the advancement of the state. He highlighted the global perception of Goa as a community inspired by faith, transcending religious boundaries to align with the divine will.

In his prayer, Bishop Theodore appealed to God for enlightenment for those who are misguided, hoping they would see the light and contribute to the overall harmony of the state. He stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence, envisioning a united community. Reflecting on Goa's spiritual heritage, the Bishop cited three saints as exemplary figures —St. Francis Xavier, who came to Goa, St. Joseph Vaz, who went out of Goa and Venerable Agnelo D'Souza, who engaged in missionary work in Goa and Karnataka. "They taught us how to live the faith. So, we cannot say that we do not have examples." The Prelate added.

Deanery wise masses, mass for the sick and the elderly and masses in Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil were held during the days of Novena.

Archbishop Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão welcomed the concelebrants and the faithful.

Sr Armida Cruz sfn was the liturgical commentator while Fr Afonso Mendonca, Director, Diocesan Centre for Liturgy made the liturgical arrangement. Clifford Pereira led the liturgical choir with his choir members. Fr Kenneth Teles, Rector of the Sanctuary of St. Joseph Vaz and the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Health Church Sancoale thanked all.



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Title: Sancoale: Feast of St. Joseph Vaz celebrated in Goa

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