CHAPEL AND TOMB OF ST. FRANSIS XAVIER
It is inside this chapel that one will come across the silver casket that houses the immortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. This silver casket which is placed at the top serves as a religious observance. If you count, there are 7 panels on the casket, each of which has got 2 plates, one over the other which are carved with important scenes from the life of St. Francis Xavier. You will also see sculptures of angels occupying the space between the panels. There is a huge cordon (Barsrier) to this casket, so make sure you pay your respects from outside this Barsrier. The silver casket is lowered for public viewing only during the public exposition. There are a lot of tourists, both international and domestic, that vist the Basilica. To avoid overcrowdinf, certain fixed “visiting hours” have been set. These are as follows: » Weekdays: 09:00 to 18:30 hrs. » Sundays: 10:00 to 18:30 hrs. Also if you’d like to see how a Mass is conducted, certain “MASS HOURS” have been set. These are: Check these out also: » Weekdays: 07:00 to 08:00 hrs. » Sundays: 08:00 to 09:15 hrs.
ST. JEROME CHURCH, MAPUSA
Well, this is one Church that was built on the remains of a chief pagoda. The main altar of this 407 year old Church is dedicated to Our Lady Of Miracles whose feast day is celebrated on 2nd Monday after Easter. Our Lady is greatly venerated by both Hindus and Christians. Common legend has it that a zatra (Festival) of the Hindus almost inevitably is connected with the feast of Our Lady. It seems that Our Lady is a sister to the Hindu mother of the said zatra (called Shirgaun by the locals). The fair for the feast day remains for at least 3 days.
CHURCH OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI, OLD GOA
If you fancy ancient workmanship, then you will be definitely in full praise of the 17th century pieces of religious art. There is a beautiful octagonal tabernacle in the middle of the which is richly decorated in an ornate style. If you look above the tabernacle you will come face to face with 2 statues, one of St. Francis of Assisi and the other of Jesus on the Cross. Right below these 2 statues are the inscriptions of St. Francis of Assisi’s vows of poverty, humility and obedience.
MARY IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH, PANJIM
Ever placed a candle in the dark? Noticed how the colors of the night and the candle become one and emit a beautiful kaleidoscope of white, yellow and orange? If your answer is yes, then this is one Church you need to visit at night. Well, come over and take a look and we guarantee that you will be instantly floored by this Church. As soon as evening sets in, this huge monument is transformed into a glowing specter. Complete with tiny electric bulbs, the entire Church is lit up in the eeriness of the night.Looks like this Church is granted its halo everyday from the heavens, doesn’t it? Well to agree with me you have to be there to witness the pure magic of this Church against a backdrop of the black sky.The best time to visit this Church would perhaps be during the Feasts. The locals celebrate the Feast of Our Lady Of Fatima which is usually celebrated at the end of May(acc. to the Church calendar). The reason being that a beautiful image of Our Lady Of Fatima is placed on the altars of the Church. The feast of The Immaculate Conception is celebrated every year in Margao and Panjim on 8th Dec. In Panjim there is a 3 day fete where people from all walks of life come to witness the sheer splendor of the Church and also to dabble in a few pricey Barsgains in the stalls. These stalls sell tiny miniatures, souvenirs, handicrafts, garments, sweets (called hajem by the locals), food and drink.If you look high enough at the top of the Church you will be able to see the Church bell which is said to be the 2nd largest in the world. Movie-lovers will be interested to note that a Hindi feature film “JOSH” (shot some 2 yrs back) had several scenes shot at the flight of steps leading upto the Church.
CHAPEL OF ST. CATHERINE, OLD GOA
This chapel dedicated to St. Catherine stands as a living monument to the conquest of Goa by Alburquerque. You will see a statue of Our Lady as you enter the chapel. You will also find yourself marveling at a beautiful altar dedicated to St. Catherine upon which stands another statue of Our Lady Of Peity.
ST. CAJETAN CHURCH, OLD GOA
If any of you have ever visited St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, you will be amazed to find its striking resemblance with the St. Cajetan Church. Equally awesome is the high vault on which are inscribed the words of Christ “My House Is A House Of The Words Of Christ”. You will find this Church filled with altars dedicated to the many saints. Like for instance while entering the Church, if you look to your left you will see 3 altars dedicated to the Holy Family, Our Lady Of Piety and St. Clare and to your right you will see the altars dedicated to St. Agnes, St. Cajetan and St. John.
REIS MAGOS CHURCH, BARDEZ
One of the first of its kind in Bardez taluka, this Curch is dedictated to the 3 magi kings-Gasper, Baltazar and Melchior.The feast day is celebrated on Jan 6th at the Reis Magos churches in Bardez, Cansaulim and Chandor.
SHRINE OF THE HOLY CROSS, BAMBOLIM
This huge architectural marvel is venerated by people from all walks from life and religions. To the locals it is simply called “Fullancho Khuris” meaning the “Cross of Flowers”. This is because the white cross at the entrance of the Church is forever decorated by big flower garlands and candles. Many families queue up at this cross to make special intercessory prayers as it is often said by that all favors asked for a this Church are most certainly granted. On any day at the Shrine you will find scores of people making pilgrimages at the Cross. Some even offer masses and novenas for favors granted. Such great is their devotion and dedication to the Church.
HOLY SPIRIT CHURCH, MARGAO
Margao is the capital and commercial center of South Goa. You will find yourself marveling at the beauty of this Church where there is a rectangular square in front and a row of antique houses on both sides. The main altar of this Church is dedicated to the Holy Spirit as the name suggests. A good time to visit this Church would be on its feast day i.e 10th June and perhaps you could fancy a shopping spree in the stalls which sell everything from household appliances to foodstuff to toys and garments.
OUR LADY OF GRACE CHURCH, MARGOA
Situated in the heart of Margao city, this former military chapel was once named “Capela de Batalhao”. Not to worry, this modern Church as it stands today looks as appealing and serene as ever. There is even a hospital(Grace Hospital) named after the Church and its patron. The feast of this Church is celebrated on the 1st Sunday of Feb. Howerever no fair accompanies this feast day.
CHURCH OF RACHOL, MARGOA
The original Church was dedicated to All Saints. Later on the Church was replaced by the present one and this new one is dedicated to St. Ignatius Of Loyola. If you want to experience a gush of adrenalin, you could perhaps go on a sightseeing tour through an underground pass that leads to the Rachol Fortress. Adjacent to the Rachol Church is the Seminary of Rachol which imparts religious education to all Christian missionaries. There is a also a mini-museum in the Rachol Seminary which houses some rare and beautiful pieces of religious art dating back to ancient times. The Rachol church is dedicated to Our Lady Of Snows whose feast day is celebrated on the 1st Sunday of August. However the main feast day of the Rachol Church is celebrated on Jan 1st as this day is dedicated to Bom Jesus. The fair remains for a day only.
OUR LADY OF ROSARY CHURCH, NAVELIM
As old folklore says, it is believed that the patron Saint of Goa, St. Francis Xavier used to teach catechism at this Church to his followers seated around him.The church is abuzz with activity, feasting and thanksgiving on November 3rd i.e the feast day of Rosary Church. Various fetes, and entertainment programs featuring music bands, dances, live fashion shows, mimicries and talent eating competitions are arranged. Maybe you could try your luck at the ice-cream eating competition and bring home a tub of ice-cream. Even merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels are set up to keep the children in high spirits. It is altogether a very colorful affair and make sure you don’t miss out on it.