Pope Francis canonisation of Joseph Vaz sets off celebrations at Mudipu hills

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Mangaluru | Published: January 16, 2015 6:00:12 AM

The three-day celebrations marking the canonisation of Joseph Vaz by Pope Francis in Sri Lanka began at the Blessed Joseph Vaz shrine...

The three-day celebrations marking the canonisation of Joseph Vaz by Pope Francis in Sri Lanka began at the Blessed Joseph Vaz shrine at nearby Mudipu hills yesterday.

Pope Francis canonised Vaz, the first saint in Sri Lanka, in a grand ceremony at the seafront in Colombo yesterday.

The celebration at Mudipu began with the festal mass led by bishop of Mangaluru diocese Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza. He said the canonisation of Vaz, who was born in Goa and spent many years as a missionary in Sri lanka, was a joyous moment for the faithful in the coastal region, especially belonging to the Vaz Church.

The Bishop said devotees of the Vaz shrine should follow his example and learn to be devoted to God and live for the poor and needy.

A stage programme was held at the Church venue later.

State Health Minister U T Khader and Nalin Kumar Kateel MP, visited the shrine during the first day’s celebrations and conveyed their best wishes.

Dennis Moras Prabhu, vicar general of Mangaluru diocese, celebrated the festal mass today. Archbishop of Bengaluru Bernard Moras would lead the festal mass tomorrow. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is expected to visit the shrine tomorrow, Church sources said.

Joseph Vaz, born on April 21, 1651 at Benaulim in Goa, became a priest in 1676. After serving in different parishes of Goa, he went to work as a missionary in Sri Lanka in 1687 where he spent many years spreading Christian faith among the local population.

Pope John Paul II had in 1995 proclaimed him as ‘Blessed Joseph’ in recognition of his missionary work in Sri Lanka. He had also been venerated as the ‘Apostle of Sri Lanka’ and the ‘Patron of Goa’.

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