The Decennial Exposition of St. Francis Xavier, Goa



The sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier are preserved and kept in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa. The feast of St. Xavier is celebrated on 3rd of December every year. It is celebrated in the honor of his death. Every ten years his mortal remains are taken down for exposition around Old Goa. The next decennial exposition is to be held this year from November 2014 to January 2015. The dates of the exposition were declared by the archbishop of Goa, Filipe Neri Ferrao, asNovember 22, 2014 to January 4, 2014.


The last exposition was held in 2004. Estimated 2.5 million pilgrims had visited Goa for this event and is considered as one of the most important and religious events for the Christians over the world. However, this event goes beyond religion and thousands of non Christians come for the veneration as well. During this celebration, various stalls are put up in the vicinity of the church that sell a lot of trinkets, souvenirs, food and clothing, and many other items. The fair is an elaborate affair and a lot of interesting Goan handicrafts are sold as well.


The exposition moves in a solemn procession carrying the relics of the Jesuit missionary around the Se Cathedral. The relics are kept there for veneration of the faithful, for 44 days. It starts from the mausoleum in Basilica of Bom Jesus where the Spanish saint rests. His remains are taken down and moved to Se Cathedral in a ceremonial procession.  


St. Xavier was born in Spain in the year 1506 and came to Goa, which was a Portuguese colony in 1542. His goal was to influence Goan people to become Christians. The Basque saint was declared dead in the year 1552, on an island while on his way to China. The first exposition of the saint was in 1782. Since then the body of the saint remains intact except for his right arm which was taken to Rome to be displayed as a relic in the Church of Gesu. His missionary work in Asia was commendable as he baptized more than 300,000 people in a span of ten years.


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