The Feast of Navelim- Holds Life Together Like the Beads of the Holy Rosary

The Feast of our Lady of Rosary in the parish of Navelim is highly popular among the people of Navelim and indeed the entire Salcete. It brings together people of all walks of life and the entire village of Navelim rises to a profound festive joy that binds both the Catholics, the Hindus and the others of the surrounding Areas. Like every other feast in Goa, the Feast of our Lady of Rosary is a feast of communal harmony besides being an occasion of deep faith and communion for the Catholics. It has a lasting binding effect like the beads of the holy Rosary and occasion leads people into a profound celebration of life. This celebration of life is not just a celebration of faith; it is also a celebration of our Goan-ness and Goan culture which is graced by God. This celebration is not limited by territorial boundaries. It unites all Navelkars who are now across the globe. It brings about a new solidarity bound by a sense of simultaneity wherein time and space contracts and people an enabled to access their links to their roots in Navelim as well as their catholic faith either by physically travelling to their village and joining their brethren in celebrating it or by coming together of Navelkars with their friends in Mumbai, London, USA, Canada etc. Like the Holy Rosary, the feast of Navelim has both celestial as well as terrestrial links.

The Feast of Navelim Village is like the beads of Rosary. It intensifies and wraps together, history, memory, culture and faith spread across a great expanse of time and space. Besides, like every other liturgical celebration, it floods and inundated our time and space with grace as well as draws a relation to the Catholic faith for the past 2000 years. It is as we are enabled to take a sip of life in a highly concentrated mode. It simultaneously links the Catholic faithful spread across the globe as well as the history of Navelim as well as Goa at large. The intertwining and interweaving effect of the Feast of Navelim is not merely social, it is indeed graced and therefore profoundly heavenly. Somehow our ‘Chronos’ (Time), the ‘Topos’ (space) join the ‘Kairos’( graced time) during our feasts. The Feast of Navelim is no exception, our earthly chronotope (Chronos and Topos ) is graced by heaven. That is why the Feast of Navelim like every other feast is a holy celebration that both invites people to be as well as make them Holy. Viewing it from the sociological point of view, we can understand how the Feast of Navelim captures our Goan-ness and Christian-ness in an intense simultaneity and elevates it to a graced condition. This means the feast of Navelim offers us grace through the mediation of the materiality of its celebration. This means every Catholic feast in Goa celebrates and graces our Goan-ness and Christian-ness.

The Feast of Our Lady of Rosary is a thanksgiving celebration in the Catholic Church. Though the devotion of Rosary as we have it today was gifted to us by Mother Mary herself in 1214 through St. Dominic, the Feast of our Lady became an universal celebration in the Church later. Right from its very inception, the Feast of our Lady of Rosary was a Feast of thanksgiving for the protection received from God through the intercession of our Lady. It was instituted in 1573 by Pope Gregory XIII to thank God for the victory of the battle of Lepanto that threatened to put Europe under the yoke of the Moslem rulers of that time. Much before this, we can already notice the devotion being brought by the Portuguese Conquistadors in Goa. This devotion is written in stone in Goa. We have the oldest surviving Church edifice today in Goa. The Church of our Lady of Rosary on Monte Santo Old Goa built after Goa was conquered by the Portuguese in 1510. It is said that this foundation for this Church was laid in 1544 and completed in six years. Besides, it is said that our lady of Rosary was invoked when Sambaji Maharaj attacked Goa and it was believed that he had to leave Goa following his kingdom being attacked by Emperor Aurangzeb due to the intercession of Our Lady. Thus, our devotion to Our Lady of Rosary has a Unique Goan connection. That is why the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Rosary becomes indeed an intensification and concentration of time and space.

The celebration of the Feast in Navelim brings about a new configuration of time and space. It intertwines Gospel and culture and bridges divine and human is the very celebration. Therefore, It is a celebration of Heaven and Earth with an especial gratitude for the goodness received from the hands of God. This intrinsic link between grace and nature is a true encounter between Gospel and culture wherein grace that purifies culture is celebrated in the feast of the village of Navelim. In a way God’s grace pours into the ordinary life of people. Thus, like the different beads of the Holy Rosary, we have the devotion and great celebrations in the Church of Navelim that begin with the annual solemn procession that holds together the life of the people of Navelim and the surrounding areas and lead them to a life of love and light. In the good old days, the festival also included the cattle and thus had helped us to bridge our life with all creation. As the people of Navelim once again celebrate their feast, we can see how our Goan-ness and our Christian-ness cross each other and hold together our living Goan Culture like the beads of Holy Rosary. May this life of harmony live forever.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao