Catholic community in Goa to celebrate feast of Ascension

Fr Walter de Sa | MAY 28, 2022, 09:50 PM IST
Catholic community in Goa to celebrate feast of Ascension

Stalls selling various provisions for the monsoons at the ‘Purumentachem Fest’ (feast of provisions) around the Panaji Church square during the Feast of the Ascension on Sunday.

Photo Credits: Narayan Pissurlenkar

In this joyful season of Easter, known as Eastertide, the Catholic community in Goa joins the Universal Church in celebrating the feast of the Ascension of the Lord on the fortieth day after His resurrection.

Jesus’ resurrection is central to Christianity. It is the culmination of the paschal mystery. It is His triumphant victory over sin and death.
During this joyful season of Easter, we not only rejoice at His victory but also celebrate our own victory as we too have risen with Christ to a new life. We too share in His resurrection and victory.
The evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, talk about the apparitions of the Risen Lord, first to Mary Magdalene and then to His disciples who, out of fear of the Jews, had locked themselves in a room where He stood in their midst and greeted them, saying, “Peace to you.” A week later, He appeared to them once again; this time perhaps to satisfy Thomas who had failed to believe that Jesus had risen, and had appeared to his companions. Jesus straightaway encountered Thomas and said: “Take your finger and examine My hands. Put your hand into My side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe.” These words transformed Thomas from unbeliever to believer as he convincingly made a profession of faith by declaring, “My Lord and my God”.
Luke is the only writer to record that Jesus, after His resurrection, had appeared to the apostles and others over a period of forty days, and thereafter, “He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight.”
Earlier, Jesus had hinted about His “going away”. More explicitly, He said: “I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with Me, that where I am, you also may be”.
Likewise, to Mary Magdalene who had gone to see His tomb, Jesus spoke thus: “I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God’.”
The Apostles’ Creed and the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, both teach that, after His resurrection, the Risen Lord “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”
The Universal Catholic Church assigns the liturgical celebration of the Ascension of the Lord to Sunday closer to the fortieth day after Easter, though following the old tradition, it can also be celebrated on Thursday of Week 6 of Eastertide, wherever such practice is observed. This year, it falls on May 29 (Sunday).

Purumentachem Fest in Panaji
The Catholic faithful in Panaji will celebrate the feast of the Ascension on Sunday, the second major feast in the parish, after the main feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the Parish, which is celebrated on December 8.
A due spiritual preparation by way of prayer, reflection on the Word of God and the Eucharistic celebration for nine days is held before the feast. The animation of the Novena Mass is allotted to parish zones while the liturgy of the feast day Masses is organised by the Church Associations.
Masses on Feast Day will be held at 7 am (Konkani), 8.15 am (English) and 9.30 am (Konkani) with a sermon and a short procession. The main celebrant will be Fr Jeronimo D’Silva, Vice-Principal of Rosary College, Navelim.
This feast is traditionally known as ‘Purumentachem Fest’ (feast of provisions). Various stalls of food items like dry salt fish, onions, red chillies, spices, etc are displayed for sale. People used to buy them and make necessary provisions for monsoons. Nowadays, such stalls are rarely seen; however, mittai such as khajim and khaddio-boddio, grams, games, toys, balloons, clothes, are easily available around the Panaji Church square. This fair lasts about a week, and people not only from Panaji but also from neighbouring villages and tourists are seen visiting the stalls.
After a gap of two years on account of Covid pandemic, this feast of the Ascension of the Lord will be celebrated with immense joy and great spiritual fervour to thank the Almighty God for His protection, and to pray for an early total end of the pandemic that took away the human lives all over the world, and left peoples still under pain, suffering and misery.
We wish all our Christian brethren and others abundant divine blessings, and, especially, harmony and peace among the human communities, on this festive occasion.

[The writer is Parish Priest at the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church in Panaji]

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