by Fr. Glenford Lowe sdb
MATUNGA-MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 26, 2014: SYM-Mumbai organized a Pilgrimage to Goa from Nov 21-26, 2014. Forty Youth accompanied by Frs. Cleophas Braganza, McEnroe Lopez and Glenford Lowe took part in this unique '17th Public Decennial Exposition of the Sacred Relics of St. Francis Xavier' at the Se Cathedral – Old Goa. The four-day SYM pilgrimage focused on three important dimensions: Deepening our Christian Faith, Connecting with Salesian Missions and Knowing the Goan Culture.
Preparations for this pilgrimage began over a year ago. In spite of booking our tickets, two months well in advance, we had to be satisfied with RAC confirmations. The accommodation at Don Bosco Youth Animation Centre – Benaulim, Goa was a welcome place to rest after each hectic day. The organizing committee consisting of Fr. Cleophas, Mr. Llyod Nunes, Ms. Bibiana Esteibero, Ms. Alma Odil and Ms. Pearl D'souza ensured that the pilgrimage revolved around our three dimensions. A well designed and informative pilgrimage booklet enabled all to keep to the busy schedule.
We had the privilege of visiting the holy sites of all three saints of Goa: Francis Xavier, Agnel D'Souza and Jose Vaz. The beautiful light and sound programs at the Big Foot and the Cathedral, the creative and colourful exhibitions at Pilar Missionary Seminary and the Cathedral, the prayerful pilgrims and the many volunteers and police force gave a professional look to the entire place. The many young scouts and guides pushing wheelchairs was a very touching sight too.
We were fortunate to have celebrated mass at the Pilar Mission Seminary and also at the Adoration Chapel in the Cathedral. Every journey to a holy site was preceded by prayer, recitation of rosaries and singing of sacred hymns. The visit to the Miraculous Cross at Bambolim was unique in itself. The pilgrimage also offered the young SYM the opportunity to get connected with the Salesian missions in the Province of Goa.
We visited the famous Don Bosco complex at Panjim, the serene landscape of Provincial House Odxel, spent joyful moments with the young kids at the Margaret Bosco Bal Sadan at Paliem, journeyed up the mount in prayerful litany to celebrate mass in honour of Mary of Sulcorna, walked through the state of the art Engineering College at Fatorda and finally the beautiful educative complex at Don Bosco Quepem. At every place we were welcomed with true Salesian joy and warm hospitality. "Don Bosco in Goa is a miracle itself. Our Blessed Mother is behind it all", exclaimed a pilgrim.
The many moments of bonding, games along the sea shore, climbing the ancient Aguada Fort, driving through scenic Goa, the creative evenings and sumptuous meals added laughter and fun to the entire pilgrimage. One of the pilgrims best summed it all with these words, "These were the best ever five days of my life". "Now I know that faith can really move mountains", commented another.
We owe a debt of gratitude to God for a safe pilgrimage, the many sponsors, the community of Don Bosco Animation Centre – Benaulim, the transport agency and the core committee for making this SYM Pilgrimage a fruitful and meaningful one. May the holiness of these saints challenge us all to be holy and to spread the gospel of Jesus as we pilgrim through this world.