Thursday, January 19, 2012


 Vivian Andrews sdb
DIVYADAAN, JANUARY 19, 2012: On January 16, 2012 the community of Divyadaan celebrated the Feast of Blessed Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) a great missionary and exemplary priest who worked in Goa, Canara and for most of his life in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In honour of their patron, the feast day was animated by the brothers of the Konkan province.

The day began with Konkani tunes waking up all and announcing the feast of 'Padri Zuze Vaz'. The lauds and morning meditation were well animated, calling us to imitate the Blessed in keeping Christ at the very centre of our lives and vocation. There were animated games in the evening with six teams named after six different houses of the Konkan Province. One could observe a good, lively and sporting spirit on the field. Games were followed by tea and snacks.

The solemn Holy Eucharist was celebrated in the evening with Fr. Tony D'Souza as the main celebrant. The mass was well animated by the Konkan brothers who with their melodious voices ensured a joyful participation. Fr. Tony D'Souza, was joined by other staff members and priests from the community of Divyadaan and STI. In his homily, Fr. D'Souza in his characteristic lively manner touched upon various aspects on the life of Bl. Joseph Vaz. He emphasized a need to change our mentality towards our 'mission'. "Mission today means not only giving Christ to others but also discovering Christ in them" was the crux of his message. He also related his own missionary experiences during his brief missionary stint in Africa with those of Bl. Joseph Vaz, thus giving his homily a personal touch. The Holy Eucharist was followed by a festive community meal in honour of the Blessed. At the fag end of the day, one could hear it being said in different ways, 'what a nice day it was!'

Blessed Joseph Vaz's life continues to challenge us even today. He patiently taught the young to read and write and also ensured their human and Christian growth. He established small primary schools for children and catechetical centers for faith formation. He thus remains a model for us Salesians in our educational-pastoral ministry.

"Remember it is difficult to do at the hour of death what one has neglected to do during life"
(Parting message of Bl. Joseph Vaz to his fellow missionaries)  

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