COVID-19: No congregations for Old Goa feast next month

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Panaji, Nov 17 (PTI) For the first time in living memory, the Feast of St Francis Xavier held every year in Old Goa which attracts thousands of people, will not be open to the public due to COVID-19 pandemic, a priest said on Tuesday.

The feast of St Francis Xavier is celebrated on December 3 every year on the campus of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, where the relics of the 16th century Spanish saint are preserved.

Fr Patricio Fernandes, Rector of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, said thousands of people attend the congregational masses every year.

'However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak this year, the prayers in the run-up to the (annual feast) festival and also the masses (congregational prayers) traditionally held on the day of the feast would be held without physical participation of parishioners. Instead, they will be telecast live,' he told reporters.

Fr Fernandes said the decision to restrict the participation has been taken as per the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to check the coronavirus spread.

Goa's COVID-19 case count stood at 46,028 as on November 16, as per the state health department. PTI RPS NSK NSK