Nothing of Goa left for future generations: Fr Rebello
The feast of Cruz dos Milagres (Miraculous Cross) was celebrated in the Se Cathedral, Old Goa, with solemnity and religious fervour on Saturday amidst a fervent call to Goans to fight unitedly for early special status for Goa. The day also marked the 394th anniversary (February 23, 1619) of the apparition of Jesus Christ on a 3-feet wooden cross planted by shepherd boys atop Monte de Boa Vista hillock, about two kilometers from the Se Cathedral.
The feast mass was celebrated at 10am with professor of Rachol seminary Fr Simon Fernandes as the main celebrant and nine other co-celebrants, including Se Cathedral parish priest Fr Leonardo Correia and vice postulator sanctuary of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Fr Eremito Rebello. The religious services were conducted in the Se Cathedral this year since restoration work of the shrine of the Cruz dos Milagres and other structures atop the hillock are in progress.
Delivering his 20-minute homily to a large congregation assembled for the feast mass, Fr Rebello gave an historical insight of the apparition and dwelt on religious as well as social issues that are plaguing Goa today. He said, "We are now in the Lenten season. It's the season when we have to do penance and keep away from sin to seek our renewal." Elaborating further, he said people freely accept money from candidates during elections and blindly vote for crooks and thieves. "Are these people not committing sin by indulging in such malpractices?" he asked. "Look at the panchayats. They issue licences for mega projects due to which hills have been leveled and even paddy fields converted into concrete jungles. What have we left for our future generation? Migration continues unabated so much so that Goa is fully saturated," he said. Voicing grave concern, Fr Rebello said this can only be controlled if Goans fight unitedly for an early special status for Goa.
Two masses were celebrated, earlier, at 7am and 8.15am. 'Canji' ('pez' or rice gruel) was served to the devotees after every mass. "There is no religious significance attached to the serving of 'canji'. It is served because it is known to be a common man's diet and because Blessed Joseph Vaz served the dying people in Kandy (in Sri Lanka) with 'Canji'. It was his diet too when he was ailing," Fr Rebello told TOI. [TOI]