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Emulate St Francis by living Gospel values: Archbishop Couto to laity
December 4, 2012
OLD GOA: Describing St Francis Xavier as a master evangelist who presented eternal truths in a simple language thereby attracting the young and old to the Catholic Faith, Archbishop-designate Anil Couto said St Xavier was a model of Christian discipleship for the Catholic community.
Archbishop Couto was delivering his homily at the
Feast Mass of St Xavier, which also marks the 460th death anniversary of ‘Goencho Saib’, outside the Bom Jesus Basilica on Monday.
Archbishop of Goa and Daman Felipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop Emeritus Raul Gonsalves, Bishop Alwyn Barreto of Sindhudurg, Rector of Bom Jesus Basilica Fr Savio Baretto and a large number of priests concelebrated the Feast Mass.
Delivering his homily to a packed congregation, the Goan-born Archbishop Couto – who was the bishop of Jalandhar until Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as archbishop to the Archdiocese of New Delhi on November 30 – said St Xavier’s very life was a living Gospel.
“It was this personal example of a truly evangelical life that attracted hundreds of thousands of people to Christ. He was not ashamed of publicly professing his faith in Christ and letting everyone know that he was a disciple of Christ and a “fool” for the sake of Christ,” said Archbishop Couto.
Claiming that the Church is called to be a sign of God’s Kingdom in this world, Archbishop Couto said: “We will be such a sign only when we remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ and walk on that path, despite the pain and difficulties it entails.”
“We have realized that our Christian discipleship, if authentic, is indeed a battle against many forces of the modern culture – cultic spirituality, instant gratification of all appetites, quick recourse to violence, compromise on issues of ethics and morality, double living, alienation and greed for power and self leading to impoverishment of huge sections of the world’s population, most starkly seen in India.”
Archbishop Couto said the world in which we are living today calls for “courage to live a life contrary to prevailing materialistic, consumerist and hedonistic culture.”
“Individualism, selfishness and greed are the pillars on which this culture is based. Christians are called to live another set of values – the values of the Kingdom of God – which Christ has proclaimed,” he said.
The choir from Santa Cruz led the congregation in singing the hymns and at various responses during the mass.
Expressing his gratitude to Archbishop Couto for being part of the feast of St Xavier, Archbishop Ferrao also invoked God’s blessings on the archbishop-designate’s future Episcopal ministry as the new archbishop of Delhi. Archbishop Ferrao also thanked Fr Baretto for coordinating the novena and feast.
Among those present at the feast mass services included Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo, Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado, St Andre MLA Vishnu Wagh, Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardessai, Vasco MLA Carlos Almeida, Velim Benjamin Silva, Aldona MLA Glen Ticlo, former chief minister Dr Wilfred de Souza and retired high court judge Nelson Britto.
Eleven masses were celebrated between 4 am and 6.15 pm on the feast day, with devotees thronging every nook and corner of the specially erected pandal outside the Basilica. Long queues were also seen between and during the Masses as devotees lined up to venerate the Relic of St Xavier inside the Basilica.
The State government had made elaborate security, traffic and other arrangements for the smooth organisation of the novena and feast of St Xavier. Hundreds of police and traffic personnel were deputed around Old Goa to monitor law and order in the area.