The first day of the Novena to St Francis Xavier in Old Goa passed off smoothly as thousands of devotees participated in the seven Masses celebrated throughout the day outside the Basilica of Bom Jesus on Saturday.
The presence of a large number of police personnel in and around the feast venue helped in smooth sailing on the first day, with checks being conducted only on suspicious persons and on those carrying bags.
When contacted, the police sources said that there was no untoward incident reported through the day.
The theme for the first day of the Novena was ‘Like St Francis Xavier let us be humble by renouncing pride’ and the homily centred around this theme with the priest exhorting the people to be humble just like St Francis Xavier.
Also, the feast of St Catherine was celebrated at Se Cathedral where Cardinal Felipe Neri Ferrao was the main celebrant along with other co-celebrants.
Meanwhile, thousands of people from all over Goa participated in the seven Masses spread through the day.
Some of them walked all the way from their respective villages to Old Goa to participate in the Novena, to continue with the tradition.
Also, many people, mostly from South Goa have made the Basilica as their home and they will put up here till the Feast Day.