Photo by Andrew Howard ’17- People waiting in line for the remains of Saint Francis. At this time over 20,00 people are waiting in Goa, India, Dec. 28.
By Andrew Howard ’17
To be completely honest, the entire idea of traveling over 30 hours with my dad to see an incorruptible dead body, particularly one that’s been around 500 years, did not exactly strike me as a good time, but I’ve been wrong before.
A few years back, my dad was sitting on a cruise ship and began talking to the bartender, who was from Goa and attended a Jesuit high school. He brought up that every ten years in Goa they parade the remains of St. Francis Xavier and allow people to view his body. My father thought this idea was absolutely insane, and from that moment on he knew we would be going to India!
India isn’t exactly an easy place to get to from Phoenix Arizona (my home), and when you are stopping at churches along the way for blessings, it can really drag on. After a quick blessing from a Jesuit priest in Phoenix, we took a flight to Miami where we went to Christmas morning mass and, once again, stopped for a blessing. Later that night we took a flight from Miami to London, where we stopped at a third Jesuit church and received a blessing. These blessings were all meaningful, especially because they all had one thing in common – none of the priests had been to Goa for the Exposition of the Relics of St. Francis Xavier.
Arriving in Goa was crazy to say the least. With all the big beach parties and music festivals, there was so much traffic it took us about three hours to get to the Panjim Inn. It was finally beginning to set in that we were all the way in India.