Goa churches overflow for Easter

Festive fervour

Thousands thronged the churches and open air services here for the holy week that culminates in Easter on Sunday that re-enacts the resurrection of Christ.

While the observance of many such religious traditions is on the decline in Portugal which brought Catholicism to Goa five centuries ago, churches here still draw the faithful by the thousands, a testimony to the deep-rooted conservatism of its society.

“It is a fact that people flock to the churches by the thousands on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Even those who don’t otherwise attend religious services come on Good Friday,” Fr Maverick Fernandes, Secretary, Council for Social Justice and Peace, said.
The 2001 census showed that Catholics who were a significant 36 per cent of Goa’s population have slipped to 28 per cent.

While the Catholic Church in Goa is hardly encouraging of conversions, the growth of parallel organisations conducting prayer and preaching sessions within the community has become a worry for the church. “We are concerned about the proliferation of such groups and have formed a committee to look into the matter,” Fr Fernandes said.

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