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St. Francis Xavier’s Feast
3rd December

Festivals in December
St. Francis Xavier’s Feast | Mary Immaculate Conception Church Feast | Dattajayanti | Christmas | Festival Calendar

A humble man, credited with being one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, was beloved of the Goan people. He is often known as the patron Saint of Goa. His sacred relics are entombed in the Basilica of Bom Jesus, and their public expositions draw people from all over the world.
The feast of St. Francis Xavier is celebrated on the 3rd of December, and during this time the Basilica and its surroundings have a carnival-like atmosphere of jollity and fun.

Life sketch of St. Francis Xavier
St. Francis Xavier was a Jesuit priest who came to Goa as a missionary to spread the ‘Good News’. After staying in Goa for a time preaching the Word of God and giving lectures on the subject he travelled further east to continue his missions, eventually reaching Japan.
However, the Professed House attached to the Bom Jesus Basilica acted as a kind of Mission Centre for the Jesuits in the Eastern world, and St. Francis returned here periodically between missions.
He passed away of a deadly fever on the island of Sancian whilst waiting for a boat to take him to China.  Read more +

Miracle of Incorruptibility
When the good Saint died in Sancian, his body was buried by some Portuguese sailors whom he had befriended. However, when his remains were disinterred some years later, they were found to be intact despite the coffin having unslaked lime in it.
Subsequently, this miracle was what prompted the Vatican to confer upon him the title of Saint. St. Francis was buried in three different locations before coming to his final resting place in Goa.  Read more +

Tomb of St. Francis Xavier
The relics of the Saint were initially interred in a simple casket with little or no ornamentation. However, after his canonization, the Jesuits and people of Goa decided that something more elaborate was needed, something more in keeping with his elevated status.
The tomb in which the relics rest today was a gift from Cosimo III, Duke of Florence and the last of the Medicis. It is clearly visible and indeed the highlight of any tour of the Bom Jesus Basilica.  Read more +

Public Expositions held in Goa
Due to the unusual incorruptibility of the body, the relics of the Saint became an object of reverence and wonder to many. Thus it was eventually decided that the public should be allowed to view and venerate the relics of the Saint.
Many public expositions were ordered that attracted people from all over the world to Goa, and made Goa famous throughout the Christian World. Gradually these expositions took on a more festive atmosphere with stalls being set up and the area around the Basilica being decorated with streamers and flags.   Read more +

The feast of St. Francis Xavier is perhaps the most popular and well known of all the festivals celebrated in Goa. It is preceded by a nine day novena to the Saint which ends on the 3rd of December which is the feast day. People from across the globe come to pay homage to the Saint, even in the years in which the exposition does not take place.