- Daijiworld.com

Bantwal, Jan 14, 2015 : The three-day celebration to mark the canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz by Pope Francis in Sri Lanka, began at Blessed Joseph Vaz Shrine, Mudipu here on Wednesday January 14.

The celebration began with the festal mass led by bishop of Mangaluru diocese Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza.

In his homily, the bishop extolled the virtues of Blessed Joseph Vaz and said, "Vaz lived a simple life and looked after the sick and the needy. This is a joyous moment for all the faithful especially of this church, as six years of preparation have finally borne fruit."

Calling upon the devotees to follow in the example set by the newly-canonized saint, the bishop said, "Joseph Vaz was highly devoted to God and like him, we too should practice our faith sincerely and live for others."

Later, a stage programme was held in which MP Nalin Kumar Kateel participated as the chief guest.

"Today is a holy day in India being Makara Sankranthi day. Blessed Joseph Vaz, proclaimed as Saint on the same day is just a coincidence. This is a fact which should be recorded in history in golden letters. Saint Vaz has become a bright star by his great achievements." said Nalin Kumar Kateel during his address.

"Spiritual things also should be given preference in life instead of only material things.This is the message given by Saint Joseph Vaz. All of us should follow this message." said M P Noronha, secretary of the diocese pastoral council, on the same occasion.

Girish Belleri, the Balepuni panchayat president said "This village has entered the world map now. I congratulate the Christian community for this achivement."

Fr Gregory D'Souza welcomed. Roshan D'Souza and Leo D'Souza, the president and secretary of the pastoral council were present. Lancy D'Souza compered the programme.

Health minister U T Khadar too visited the shrine. The road to the shrine was inaugurated by him. Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza inaugurated the St. Joseph Vaz park.

On Thursday January 15, Msgr Dennis Moras Prabhu, vicar general of Mangalore diocese will celebrate the solemn festal mas. Dr Bernard Moras, archbishop of Bangalore diocese will celebrate the solemn festal mass at 10.30 am on January 16. Chief minister Siddaramaiah is expected to visit the shrine on January 16.

Joseph Vaz was born on April 21, 1651 in Benaulim, Goa as the third son of Christopher Vaz and Miranda of Goa. He became a priest in 1676 and served in different parishes of Goa till 1681. Later, he was sent to Canara. Fr Joseph Vaz travelled from Goa barefoot. He served in Honnavar, Basrur, Kundapura, Gangoli, Mulky, Mangaluru and Ullal Panir. He was miraculously saved from an attempt on his life in 1684, when he was serving as the parish priest of Panir Church. His ambition was to work as a missionary in Sri Lanka. He entered Sri Lanka in 1687 as a labourer, defying a ban on Catholic priests. He served in various places in Sri Lanka braving all odds, thus rekindling the Christian faith in Sri Lanka.

Fr Joseph Vaz was a courageous soldier of Christ, a dedicated Indian missionary and a humble servant of God. Recognizing his missionary work, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him as blessed Joseph Vaz in Colombo on January 21, 1995. He is venerated as the ‘Apostle of Sri Lanka’ and also the ‘Patron of Goa’.

Mudipu is first church in India dedicated to blessed Joseph Vaz. The Patron of Mudipu Church Blessed Joseph Vaz (to become Saint on January 14) came to this place after having been appointed as the parish priest of Ullal-Panir... read full story ...


Also read : From 'Friday boy' to Blessed Joseph Vas

Read more about St. Joseph Vaz Shrine, Mudipu at www.mudipushrine.in

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