SANCOALE: Nearly 25,000 Catholics across Goa were on their feet during the wee hours of Sunday to Sacoale old church, as a part of Archdiocesan Walking Pilgrimage (Bhavarthachi Yatra) for the second consecutive year on the first Sunday of the Lent.
St Joseph Vaz wrote a letter of bondage at this old church of Sancoale. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão, presided over the eucharistic celebration at the old church site, Sancoale. "Make Jesus as the centre of life to Jesus, give first place to Jesus through prayer, reading and reflecting on the Word of God and the celebrations of the sacraments and thus put on the mind of Jesus to become good Samaritan to the others," said Archbishop Ferrao while delivering a homily on the theme, "Jesus, walked in the desert", for the eucharistic celebration.
Fr Alfred Vaz, convenor of the committee formed for the walking pilgrimage, Fr Manuel Dias, Rector, St Joseph Vaz Sancuaturay, Sancoale, Fr Louis Alvares, parish priest of Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Fr Soccoro Colaco, Prefect of Discipline at the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, Fr Mario Calvalho, assistant to the parish priest of Goa Velha Church, Fr Siran Rebello SAC, parish priest of St Sebastian's Church, Tormas, Fr Ubaldo Fernandes, parish priest of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Fr Francisco Dias, parish priest of St Joseph's Church, Shiroda and 115 priests concelebrated.
"Sufferings and difficulties in life are not the hurdles to live life to those who live in faith. But it is an opportunity given by God to deepen our faith," the Archbishop said.
"We for You"-- an initiative of Caritas Goa was launched on the occasion. Aldona Parish Choir led the liturgical singing and Fr Afonso Mendonca, Director of Diocesan Centre for Liturgy, animated the liturgy. Fr Alfred Vaz, proposed a vote of thanks. Nearly 300 volunteers from Diocesan Youth Centre led by Fr Savio D'Souza, and Sancoale parish volunteered their services. St Luke Medical Guild, Catholic Nurses Guild and many others were of a great help. Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament conducted before the Eucharistic celebration, by Fr Mario Costa, parish priest of St John the Baptist Church, Carambolim, along with his parishioners helped the faithful to have deeper experience of Jesus.
The walking pilgrimage was organised by the Archdiocese of Goa, Daman to understand the salvific value of suffering, to spread the joy of being Christian, to gain God's grace in our difficulties and also an occasion for personal conversion. It is organised in Sancoale because son of the soil (Sancoale) St Joseph Vaz, during his Spiritual journey in Sri Lanka, he walked sharing the message of Christ to the less fortunate.
Goa Velha, Mandur, Verna, Cansaulim and Vasco were the five centres identified from which faithful began the walking pilgrimage at 3 am. Faithful reached the destination, Sancoale Old Chuch before 6:15 am by covering nearly 10-km. Around 25,000 faithful from 19 deaneries and from all the parishes and chapels of the Archdiocese of Goa participated in the walking pilgrimage.
A special way of the Cross was held in all the parishes and chapel of the Archdiocese as a preparation for the walking pilgrimage on the first Friday of the Lent season. Fasting and prayers were also offered for the success of the event A Special logo was designed by Abishai Mascarenhas from Ambora with a Cross on the logo to identify the image of the Cross of St Joseph Vaz, The feet represent the pilgrimage.
"We for You", a new initiative of Caritas Goa was launched at the hands of the Archbishop after the eucharistic celebration as a part of walking pilgrimage at Sancoale, in the presence of Fr Jolly Puthenpura, assistant director of Caritas India, Fr Maverick Fernandes, director of Caritas Goa and Fr Freddy Braganza of the Apostolate for Pastoral Care of Tourism.
Fr Maverick Fernandes explained the purpose of this initiative and said, "We For You, is a volunteerism, is to consolidate tremendous resources that is available for volunteerism in the State of Goa."