Tone down Christmas celebrations: Goa Archbishop

Goa Archbishop asks people to tone down Christmas celebrations

Ferrao also said: "the situation calls to do things just the opposite way, by avoiding occasions for the physical convergence of many."

Representative image/Credit: PTI File Photo

Goa is likely to be bereft of its glitzy Christmas fervour this year, thanks to Covid-19 pandemic.

Goa Archbishop Fr Filipe Neri Ferrao on Wednesday issued a circular to all churches and Catholic organisations in the state to tone-down Christmas celebrations in Goa, and make a conscious bid to contribute generously to the poor and downtrodden, who have had to face the worst on account of the pandemic.

“This year, however, such a (community) celebration will not be possible, due to the unprecedented situation in which we all are, because of the pandemic. In fact, the situation calls to do things just the opposite way, by avoiding occasions for the physical convergence of many,” the circular said.

“Avoid too many lights and decorations; the money could, instead, be channelled towards the needy. Think of moving from external illumination to lighting the lives of people! Small sacrifices to be made in the family. Savings (in cash or kind) to be given to the poor and the underprivileged in the parish,” Fr Ferrao said.

Attending Christmas and New Year celebrations, including formal balls, music performances, parties etc, in the state are a popular affair for locals as well as visiting tourists. The festival season also accounts for the most amount of tourist traffic to the state, which is well known as a destination for beach and nightlife tourism.

Calling the scenario triggered by the pandemic as an unprecedented one, Ferrao also said: "the situation calls to do things just the opposite way, by avoiding occasions for the physical convergence of many".

“It is my earnest wish that the restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic may help us to focus on what is essential, indeed necessary, for us to celebrate the Feast of our God in a way most befitting to Him, that is, by turning our attention to the other, reaching out to others in our own families, neighbourhood groups and parishes,” the circular states.

While the Central government's latest SOPs allow for the opening of religious places throughout the country, places of religious worship in Goa, across communities, have refrained from throwing their doors fully open to devotees.