The seventeen exposition of St. Francis Xavier brought us all under what could be described as the Francis effect. The Francis effect was visible in the preparation, execution and closure of the great event. Once again Goans across all walks of life came together and in a true spirit of peace and inter-faith harmony celebrated a great spiritual event. It was heartening to see that great care was taken to build a spiritual atmosphere that enabled all pilgrims and devotees of St. Francis Xavier to have a wholesome spiritual experience. Kudos to the Exposition committee, the exposition secretariat, the Church leadership, and the collaboration of the State Government! The organization of the unique spiritual event exhibited the hard work put in by them. The silent labour of Goa police and the hundreds of lay catholic volunteers from different parts of Goa is indeed worthy of singular praise. The Media too played its role and took the intensity of the event far and wide. Once again we saw the triumph of Goykarponn and all Goans worked shoulder to shoulder to build a climate worthy of our homage to our beloved GoychoSaib.
Any event that drew tens and thousands of people to a single place required great managerial ability. The successful closure of the event that brought people from all over the globe, as well as our country, certainly rode on the back of profound labour, goodwill and sacrifice of everyone involved. the organization of the liturgical celebration, the queuing of the people to kiss the sacred relics, the exhibition of the charisms and ministries of various religious societies and the diocesan bodies as well as the ministry of counselling, intercession, prayer, and entertainment only exhibited the scale of preparation and labour of execution that was put in for the success of the event. All this cumulatively brought about what we may call the Francis effect in Goa. It indeed opened heaven and we were enabled to deep in a pool of God’s Grace. The Eucharistic celebration, the long walk with a sense of pence through the zigzag lanes especially put in place to facilitate the smooth flow of the crowds and the face to face encounter with the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier were indeed powerful moments when time slowed down and we could intensely feel the Grace of God radiating from all directions.
The different pilgrim centres within the Church, as well as those put up by the Government, also provided great service to the people. The event certainly manifested the hunger of the People for God and Old Goa got flooded with people from far and wide. Indeed, the sheer numbers of people were awe-striking. Everything put up in Old Goa made visible God’s Welcome to the people. The seeds of God’s welcome are deeply embedded in our Goan society. Tourism in Goa is thriving on the seeds of God’s welcome. But in Old Goa, it was God’s special welcome that was vivifying and energizing. It brought new hope to the pilgrim people and everyone returned home with renewed resolve and positive intent to continue their human struggles feeling God’s presence and closeness in their life. The event invited everyone to look into the big caring heart of our God and returned with a widened horizon that enabled them to hope in the empowering promise of a future opened by God. The rekindling of hope in the hearts of our ordinary people is the igniting of the Good News in their hearts, that God is with them to lead them in their daily struggles of life.
Though the event was primarily spiritual, it also provided the joy of our traditional fair that adorns our popular festivals in Goa. The KadioBodio, the balloons, the chonne Bikdam , toys and several other things nurtured our excitement and kept our spirits high. The proverbial chovrish pav got us to relish it with an air of nostalgia while some took a sip of our traditional Kopache and had the stirring experience of everything going around. All in all the ambience become electrifying and we were enthralled by our Goan way of celebrating our feasts. Of course, any event of this magnitude will have some shortcomings. Some of us may have reasons to bring them to our notice. But as the curtains are brought down on the event, I think it is honourable and profoundlyGoan to be grateful to those who made it possible for us. Hence, as we thank and say a big Dev BoremKorum to all concerned, I wish that the Francis effect that brought our society in Goa together will continue to hold us together so that the interest of Goa and Goans will always remain to be first. The spirit of our GoychoSaib that has sparked off the Francis effect is certainly refusing to die in our society!