Panaji, Sep 18 (IANS) The Roman Catholic Church in Goa Wednesday expressed “joy” at Pope Francis’s approval of the first step towards canonization of India’s first Catholic saint Fr. Joseph Vaz, a priest of Goan origin.
In a statement issued here Archbishop of Goa and Daman Fr. Filipe Neri Ferrao said: “The Archdiocese of Goa and Daman rejoices with the news that Pope Francis has approved the vote of the Members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in favour of the canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Canara and Sri Lanka and Patron of this Archdiocese”.
After the papal approval, the final declaration of Sainthood for Vaz will be made by a Consistory of Cardinals.
Goa has a 26 per cent Catholic population and was one of the early South Asian regions to embrace Christianity after being colonized by the Portuguese in the early 16th century.
Vaz was born in Goa in 1676. Later, he moved to Sri Lanka.