Goans in Toronto celebrate feast of St Joseph Vaz

Goans in Toronto celebrate feast of St Joseph Vaz

The Goan Overseas Association of Toronto organised the Feast Mass of St Joseph Vaz at the Goan Community Centre on January 15 at 5 pm.

The Eucharistic Mass was celebrated by Fr Manuel Antao SVD in Konkani, English and Portuguese. Fr Antao also blessed the statue of St Joseph Vaz, which was recently brought all the way from Goa.

During his homily, Fr Antao highlighted the work and miracles of St Joseph Vaz and his dedication and zeal to preach the Word of God and to serve people irrespective of their religion, caste and race.

“He was imprisoned as a Portuguese spy. Buddhist King Vimaladhama Surya II allowed him limited freedom as he realised the allegations were groundless. At the King's request, St Joseph Vaz conducted a public prayer service to invoke rain during a long drought. On the prayers being answered, the king set him free granting him special protection and freedom to in the Kingdom,” said Fr Antao.

“When at the height of the smallpox epidemic, there were as many as 10-12 deaths a day and sufficient men were not available for the work, the two priests had often to dress the corpses, carry the coffins, dig the graves and bury the dead with their own hands.”

“It took 12 months for the smallpox epidemic to abate in Kandy, and the King openly declared that were it not for Vaz's charity, the streets would have been full of corpses.”

“Very often the patients were moved to tears and could scarcely believe what they saw with their own eyes. Eventually, patients overcame the fear of public opinion which has been the greatest obstacle to the spread of the Catholic faith in Sri Lanka and many of them begged St Joseph Vaz to receive them into the religion of the God who taught such manner of charity and gave him the strength and courage to practice it in such circumstances.”

“Each time they washed the patient, fed and clothed him and cleaned up the place, rendering the most menial services for which no persons could be found anywhere either for money or for love,” added Fr Antao.

After the Mass, the G.O.A Toronto provided all attendees complimentary snacks and dinner with live entertainment by Julius Sequeira. The celebration was attended by G.O.A. members.

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