Annual feast of St Joseph Vaz Shrine from Nov 28

Rev Fr Benjamin Pinto, director of St Joseph Vaz Shrine, speaks to reporters in Mangaluru.

The annual feast of St Joseph Vaz Shrine in Mudipu will be held from November 28 to December 1.

Rev Fr Benjamin Pinto, director of St Joseph Vaz Shrine, told reporters that mass on November 28 is dedicated to the sick and suffering. “A solemn Eucharistic celebration will be at 5.30 pm by Dr Pius Thomas D’Souza, Bishop of Ajmer. Special prayers will be offered for the sick and suffering. On November 29, solemn festal mass at 10.30 am will be celebrated by Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop Emeritus of Mangaluru. On November 30, Dr Ignatius D’Souza, Bishop of Bareilly will preside over the Eucharistic celebration at 10.30 am,” he added.

On December 1, Mangaluru Bishop Dr Peter Paul Saldanha will celebrate the festal mass. On the same day, Dr Lawrence Mukkuzhy, Bishop of Belthangady Diocese, will preside over the mass at 4 pm in Kannada. The concluding mass of the annual feast will be at 8 pm, concelebrated by Rev Msgr Maxim L Noronha, vicar general of the Mangalore diocese, Pinto said.

“A total of six masses will be celebrated at 8.30 am, 10.30 am (solemn festal mass), 2 pm, 4 pm (Kannada), 6 pm and 8 pm daily. Meals will be provided to all pilgrims in the noon on all the four days,” he said, adding that around 30,000 devotees are expected to visit the shrine daily for the annual feast.

Blessed Joseph Vaz was born on April 21, 1651 at Benaulim, Goa, as the third son of Christopher Vaz and Miranda. He was the first priest from the coastal region to be elevated to sainthood. The shrine in Mudipu Hill is the only church in India dedicated to Vaz.

Vaz became a priest in 1676 and served in different parishes in Goa till 1681. At the age of 36, he decided to pursue his dream of working as a missionary in Sri Lanka. Vaz is remembered for rekindling the Christian faith in Sri Lanka. Pope John Paul II recognised the missionary’s work and proclaimed him Blessed Joseph Vaz in Colombo on January 21, 1995.

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