Goa to request PMO to invite Pope Francis for St Francis Xavier’s exposition: CM | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Goa to request PMO to invite Pope Francis for St Francis Xavier’s exposition: CM

ByGerard de Souza
Mar 16, 2024 01:11 PM IST

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said his government will be writing to the Prime Minister’s Office who in turn will extend an invitation to the Pope to visit Goa for the exposition

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant has said that his government will request the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to invite Pope Francis, the head of the global Catholic church, to visit the state for the decennial exposition of the sacred relics of St Francis Xavier to be held later this year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Pope Francis in October of 2021 at the Vatican City and formally invited him to make an official visit to India. (File)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Pope Francis in October of 2021 at the Vatican City and formally invited him to make an official visit to India. (File)

Sawant, who chaired a review committee meeting to oversee the preparations for the 45-day event that will begin in late November this year, said, “We will be writing to the Prime Minister’s Office who in turn will extend an invitation to the Pope to visit Goa for the exposition. When the Prime Minister met the Pope, he had also invited him to visit India.”

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met the Pope in October of 2021 at the Vatican City when he formally invited him to make an official visit to India.

The chief minister, who had set aside 10 crore in his budget speech for the exposition, said the state government will be beautifying the Old Goa church complex including the setting up of amenities for pilgrims who will be visiting Old Goa to venerate the holy relics of the 16th century Spanish Jesuit missionary, who is regarded as a saint among Catholics across the world and especially in South Asia.

The mortal remains of the saint, who passed away on Sancian (Shangchuan) island off the coast of China in 1552, were brought to Goa after they were found to be ‘incorrupt’ despite being buried for three months. The remains, now considered relics, have been interred at the Basilica of Bom Jesus and are taken down from the high altar once every ten years, a practice that began in 1782 to dispel a persistent rumour that the Jesuit priests, who were expelled from Portuguese territories, had taken the body with them. The lowering of the silver casket containing the body has continued since then.

The last Pope to visit India was Pope John Paul II who visited the country in 1999 while Pope John Paul II had visited Goa in 1989. Pope Francis, who had planned a visit to India in 2017, didn’t follow through with his plan in what was said to be a less than enthusiastic response the Vatican received from the Indian government. The Pope visited Myanmar and Bangladesh instead.

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