The Exposition of the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier

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The seventeenth exposition of the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier has already set in a spiritual ambience among the peoples of all works of life. The Catholic Church in Goa has been carefully treading the path of spiritual and pastoral preparation so that this great event becomes an intense moment of grace leading to profound God experience to each and every person who will come to venerate the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier. The Government of Goa has put its act together and the required infrastructure and the personnel to assist, guide and protect the devotees during the  entire period of the solemn exposition has been steadily  put in place. The entire people of Goa are waiting with expectant hope for the unfolding of this great historical event in Goa. The media in Goa is also gearing up to broadcast the happenings in Goa to the entire Globe. The tourism industry has waiting to spread a red carpet welcome to the pilgrims and the tourists arriving on the occasion. The Church as well as Government has opened several pilgrim centres for the devotees that would serve them at very nominal rates. Thus, an atmosphere of anticipation, excitement, and optimism has built up to welcome the solemn exposition of the sacred relics of Goycho Saib.  

Being the voice of the people of Goa, Herald has also set up plans to cover the dynamic event and take to it far and wide holding together its unfolding threads in utmost sensitivity to the spiritual axis it will churn in Goa. Staying with its optics of viewing everything from the people-centric lens of analysis and presentation of facts, Herald understands its responsibility to become authentic bearer of news, views and events that will occur during this special time in Goa.  The people-centric optics of Herald is deliberately chosen perspective by the Herald as it has the power to resonate with the horizons of   people of Goa.  With this option for the people, in particular the struggling people, herald shares a common rhythm with Goycho Saib who always identified with the poor and the downtrodden. This pre-option for the people manifests the commitment of Herald for the people of Goa. Every struggle of the people in Goa has found its voice, space, inspiration and direction in many ways in and through Herald. I certainly admire the social commitment of Herald as it has made room for Goa, its people and their aspiration central to its concern for a long time. Echoing this commitment Herald has once again provided a platform for us  Goans to share our views  and insights about the life and times of their beloved  Goycho Saib. This purposeful intent has brought to light this special issue to mark the exposition of relics of St. Francis Xavier.

Certainly the presence of sacred relics Goycho Saib in Goa  has made a profound influence on the life and psyche of Goans.  Goans of all walks of  life believe that Goycho Saib somehow protects them and Goa from all natural disasters. This faith is visible among  the simple folks of Goa cutting across all  communities. By celebrating the heroic life and the miraculous Body of St. Francis Xavier and by appropriating him as Goycho Saib, the people of Goa have certainly decolonized the man Francis Xavier. The West gave us the Man Francis but the People of the East have returned the compliment with the Saint Francis.  Certainly Francis Xavier was a man of his times but it is equally true that he is a saint for our time.   Today Francis Xavier has become omnipresent through various educational institutions in the entire East. Thus, he continues to influence and shape our people. One might say that in him the West and East  effectively meet each other.  But the Goan appropriation of Him as a Goycho Saib has inculturalted  him and de-colonized him. That is why every exposition of the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier is also a de-colonial moment for us in Goa.

We do realize that the colonizer lives within us in complex ways. We seem to have become fractal images of the colonizers. Some say that Goans are like coconuts: brown outside and white inside Hence, we are challenged to encounter the Goanizing moment in the context of the exposition of the relics of St. Francis Xavier. Post-liberation Goa has become a victim of corroding and corrosive  process  of de-goanization. The quest for Portuguese nationality, the shrinking of land resources, the mother tongue imbroglio irrupting into divides and boundaries on religious lines etc., only effectively demonstrates the growing de-territorialization and de-goanization of Goa and Goans.  I hope eagerly that the exposition of the relics of St. Francis Xavier becomes a de-colonial as well as Goanizing moment for us Goans while it certainly will be the grace-filled event for all. The Goycho Saib continues to Goanize himself with his miracles presence in Goa. I hope and pray this Goanizing rubs on us and we too Goanize ourselves by saving Goa, Goans and Goan culture.      

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao