Journey with St. Lawrence to the wards of Moodubelle Parish-IX (St. Francis Xavier II Ward)

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Report and Pictures by Dr. Eugene D’Souza and Anil Alva
Bellevision Media Network


Moodubelle, 05 May 2010:
St. Francis Xavier:
St. Francis Xavier is considered to be one of the greatest missionaries who belonged to the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius Loyola. St. Francis Xavier came to India and later went to South East Asia and Japan to spread the Gospel of Christ. His body has been still preserved in the famous Bom Jesus Basilica in Old Goa.

Francis Xavier was born on 7th April 1506, in the Spanish kingdom of Navarre. As a boy he was ambitious and fond of sport, but he had a largeness of heart and generosity of nature. While studying in the University of Paris, Francis came in contact with Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius Loyola convinced Francis the worthlessness of his worldly ambitions and won him over to the cause of Jesus Christ. Thus, Francis became one of the first members of the Society of Jesus and made his vows with Ignatius and five others on 15th August  1534, and was finally ordained priest on  24th June 1537.

The first object of Ignatius and his companions had been to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but events turned out otherwise. Ignatius was asked by King John of Portugal to send priests to the new missions in India, and he chose Francis Xavier.

The story of the missionary journeys of Francis Xavier is an epic of adventure. He arrived in Goa in May 1542 and went on from there to Cape Comorin in the south of India where he spent three years working among the pearl-fishers or Paravas of the Fishery Coast. From there he went on to the East Indies, to Malacca and the Moluccas, and finally, in 1549 he set out for Japan. He died on 3rd December 1552 on a lonely island, vainly seeking to obtain entrance into China. Thus, in ten years he travelled to the greater part of the Far East.

Many miracles have been attributed to Francis Xavier. He died abandoned with but one companion. However, within a few weeks his body was recovered and found to be perfectly incorrupt. On 11th  December 1553, the body of  Francis  Xavier was  brought to Goa. The body is now in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2nd December 1637. The right forearm, which Francis Xavier used to bless and baptize his converts, was detached by Provincial General Claudio Acquaviva in 1614. It has been displayed since then in a silver reliquary at the main Jesuit Church in Rome.

Francis Xavier was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1619 and canonized together with St. Ignatius Loyola by Pope Gregory XV, on 12th March 1622. St. Francis Xavier has been declared as the patron of all the missions of the Catholic Church. The feast of St. Francis Xavier is celebrated every year on 3rd December.

St. Francis Xavier II Ward: The Ward No.2 dedicated to St. Francis Xavier is bound by St. Joseph Ward towards the north, St. Francis Xavier Ward No.1 towards the north-east, St. Paul Ward No.1 towards the south and the Belle River towards the west. There are 36 families in the Ward.
The Gurkar of the Ward is Leo Simon Fernandes, who is also the member of the Parish Pastoral Council and the Catholic Sabha. He has been assisted by two representatives-Faustine D’Souza and Mrs. Jacintha Martis.

Leo Simon Fernandes (Gurkar)

Faustine D’Souza and Mrs. Jacintha Martis (Representatives)

Quite a number of men and women from St. Francis Xavier II Ward have dedicated themselves to the service of the Catholic Church. Fr. Lawrence Fernandes, son of Andrew and Rojina Fernandes had joined the diocese of Allahabad and has been serving as the Principal at Rae Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. Fr. Louis D’Souza, son of Gabriel and Angeline D’Souza had been a diocesan priest in the Mangalore Diocese and is presently in the Vianney Home, Mangalore. Br. Godwin Sequeira, son of Gilbert and Cynthia Sequeira has joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) congregation and is presently doing novitiate at Mount St. Joseph’s Seminary at Bangalore. Br. Ivan Joy Martis, son of Michael and Irene Martis is doing second year philosophy at St. Joseph’s Seminary at Mangalore.

Fr.Lawrance Fernandes, Fr.Lewis D’Souza

Sr.Helen Fernandes, Sr.Priya Fernandes

Sr.Theresa Martis, Sr.Metilda Alva

Sr.Violet D’Souza, Sr.Mariyola (Benedicta) D’Souza

Br.Godwin Sequiera, Br.Ivan Joy Martis

Among the women who have joined different religious congregations and working in different parts of India include, Sr. Helen Fernandes, daughter of Salvador and Ignatia Fernandes has joined Franciscan Servants of Mary and is presently in France. Sr. Priya Fernandes, daughter of Paul and Mary Fernandes has also joined Franciscan Servants of Mary and is presently serving in Uttar Pradesh. Sr. Theresa Martis, daughter of Santhurline and Christine Martis is Ursuline Sister and serves in Elizabeth Hugestrasse Old Age Home in Germany. Sr.Violet D’Souza, daughter of  Xavier and Rita Mary D’Souza is a Bethany Sister and is serving in ‘Jyothi Seva Kendra’ at Chittapura in Gulbarga District. Sr. Mariola (Benedicta) D’Souza, daughter of Salvador and Christine D’Souza is also a Bethany Sister and works as Coordinator of the Right to Food at Delhi. Sr. Matilda Alva, daughter of Gregory and late Angeline Alva is an Ursuline Sister and is presently serving in the Lucknow Diocese of Uttar Pradesh.

Valerian Alva, Gilbert Lobo

Besides the religious men and women, some lay people of St. Francis Xavier II Ward have made their name in different fields. Valerian Alva who is working in Dubai has been the President of the Bellevision (UAE) for the last two years. Gilbert Lobo has been a flower merchant in Kattingeri for the last fourteen years. He collects mogra flowers from as many as 145 houses. He has been doing pygmy collection for the C.A. Bank, Moodubelle for the last fourteen years. He also runs a transport business and provides vehicles for hire.

Visit of St. Lawrence to the Ward: The statue of St. Lawrence was taken in procession from the St. Joseph Ward to the border of St. Francis Xavier II Ward at 5pm on Sunday, 25th April 2010. A large number of Ward members from St. Francis Xavier II ward led by the Gurkar, Leo Simon Fernandes were present to welcome St. Lawrence into their Ward. Fr. Joswey Fernandes, the parish priest was also present at this occasion. Leo Simon garlanded the statue of St. Lawrence and respectfully received it from the hands of Mrs. Leena D’Souza, the Gurkarn of St. Joseph Ward. Thereafter, all the members of both the wards proceeded in procession to the residence of Leo Simon singing hymns in honour of St. Lawrence.

On reaching the residence of Leo Simon, Fr. Joswey conducted the prayer service and blessed the house. During the week, the statue of St. Lawrence was taken to the houses of the ward members and the statue was rested for the night in the residences of the following members: Sunday, 25th April-Leo Simon Fernandes, Monday, 26th April-Benjamin Martis, Tuesday, 27th April-Xavier D’Souza, Wednesday, 28th April-Michael Martis, Thursday, 29th April-Paul Noronha, Friday, 30th April and Saturday, 1st May-Mrs. Veronica Saldanha.

Ward Day Celebration: The Ward Day was celebrated on Friday, 30th April 2010 after the Mass for the elderly and sick persons at 5pm offered by Fr. Paul Sequeira at the residence of  Daniel Noronha. Fr. Joswey Fernandes, Fr. Paul Sequeira, Sisters from the Loreto Convent and Mrs. Leena D’Souza, Gurkarn of St. Joseph Ward were present along with a large number of the ward members.

Br. Ivan Martis conducted the proceedings of the Ward Day celebrations. Mrs. Sobina Martis welcomed the guests and ward members and Mrs. Philomena Noronha, the Secretary of the ward  presented the report of the activities of the ward during the last year. Fr. Joswey honoured seventeen elderly persons of the ward by presenting them roses and Rosaries. Former Gurkars of St. Francis Xavier II Ward, Paul Fernandes and Joachim Lobo were felicitated. Miss Reena D’Souza, who had scored 91 per cent marks in the SSLC examination last year was also felicitated.

In his message, Fr. Joswey emphasised that  any task that is undertaken together with the grace of God and work of human beings would be successful. There were games as well as cultural programmes to entertain the people. At the end of the programme, the Gurkar of the Ward, Leo Simon Fernandes proposed the vote of thanks and the Ward Day concluded with meal.


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Comments on this Article
Jeorome D Sa, Bethsaida, Moodubelle/Dubai Fri, May-7-2010, 1:45
It is nice to see all the people specially the elderly. I have know most of them. Thanks to bring those memories back. May the St. Lawrence help all of us to strengthen bonds of friendship and love. Special thanks to Mr. Fernandes (Gurkar) for all his services to his neighbourhood, a man of simplicity yet profound knowledge and wisdom.
Francis Noronha, Mumbai/ Moodubelle Wed, May-5-2010, 3:09
It is nice to see the parishioners are joining together during the procession as well as celebration ward fest. St. Lawrence is doing miracles among his devotees. Good initiative by Fr. Joswey, Pricipal and assistant parish priests as well as sisters. Let the same spirit continue throghtout the centenary year, thus the parish become a strong family of witnessing the christian faith.
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