Goa to promote St Xavier's exposition among European tourists

Road shows would be planned across Europe during the year to invite tourists for this unique event which is sacred in Christianity.

India
Jun 06 2014, 2:29 PM
Goa to promote St Xavier's exposition among European tourists
Casket containing the holy relics of St. Francis Xavier at the Basilica of Bom Jesus.

Goa tourism department intends to promote the forthcoming decennial exposition of relics of St Francis Xavier among European visitors. The event has attracted lakhs of people to Goa every ten years.

The Archdiocese of Goa had issued a decree last October to host the decennial exposition of sacred relics of St Francis Xavier from November 22, 2014 to January 4, 2015.

Road shows would be planned across Europe during the year to invite tourists for this unique event which is sacred in Christianity, state Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said on Wednesday.

"The exposition would be held in the first week of December this year. The entire road show is budgeted at Rs 4 crore. We expect the Union Tourism Ministry to share half the expenses," he said.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Parulekar recently had a meeting with Union Tourism Minister Shripad Naik, who has now asked the state to put up a proposal asking for the funds. Over half a lakh tourists are expected to arrive in the state exclusively to witness the decennial exposition, Parulekar said.

The Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik, in the last week of May also announced a slew of measures to bolster tourism especially in view of the promotion of the forthcoming exposition of the relics of St Francis Xavier as a religious tourism event, which includes fast trains, a cruise line terminal, e-visas and increasing scope of visa on arrivals.

Francis Xavier was the first Jesuit missionary who devoted much of his life to missions in Asia, on the request of King John III of Portugal. Beginning with Goa and parts of South India, he continued his missionary work in Ceylon, the Molucca Islands, the Banda Islands and the Malay Peninsula. He then travelled to Japan spending a year and a half there before attempting to enter mainland China. He died on December 3, 1552 at the Sancian Island waiting for vessel to take him to mainland China, and was buried on the island.

His incorrupt body was taken from the island in February 1553 and was temporarily buried in St. Paul's church in Portuguese Malacca on 22 March 1553. An open grave in the church now marks the place of Xavier's burial. Eventually his incorrupt mortal remains were shipped to Goa on December 11, 1553 and since then they are preserved in a casket there.

The relics (as the mortal remains are now referred to) are preserved at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a church at Old Goa, about nine km from Panaji.

Source: PTI

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