2.25 million venerated relics of St. Francis Xavier
During the 6-week exposition of the relics of St Francis Xavier which ended 2 January, more than 2.25 million pilgrims from all over India and surrounding countries came to venerate the remains of the "Apostle of the East."
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa led the solemn closing ceremonies for the exposition and the body of the great Jesuit missionary returned to its place on the side altar of Bom Jesus cathedral in the city of Goa.
Born in Spain in 1506, St. Francis Xavier reached Goa in 1541 while the region was under the Portuguese control. After baptizing thousands, he left for east Asia in 1549 and returned to India in 1551. During his second trip to China in 1552, he fell sick and died at the age of 46 while waiting for a boat to take him to mainland China. In 1554 his body was returned to Goa, where it has been preserved since that time.
The first official exposition of the incorrupt remains of the saint took place in 1782, with other expositions following in 1860 and 1878. More recently the expositions have taken place once every decade.
2.25 million venerated relics of St. Francis Xavier at exposition (Catholic World News 3/1/05)
St Francis Xavier (sjweb)
St Francis Xavier - his life and times (goa-world.net)
Feast of St Francis Xavier
One million devotees flock to St Francis Xavier's remains (CathNews 6/12/04)
Goa pilgrims required to prove credentials (CathNews 17/11/04)
St Francis Xavier relics survive fire in Goa basilica (CathNews 25/10/04)
5 Jan 2005