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Goa Basilica of Bom Jesus Church

Goa Basilica of Bom Jesus Church

By: Hari Prasad Doddi On: 2015-10-08 Category: Church Views: 4242
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India, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The foundation stone was laid on 24th November 1594, and completed on 15th May 1605. It was raised to the status of a minor Basilica in 1946 and is considered to be one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Goa. The church is called “Bom Jesus” meaning ‘good Jesus’ or ‘infant Jesus’ to whom it is dedicated. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier in Goa. The church is located in Old Goa, which was the capital of Goa in the early days of Portuguese rule.

St. Francis Xavier:

St.Francis Xavier, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta, on 7th April 1506 was the sixth and last child born to Dr. Joao de Xavier and Maria d’Aspilcueta at Xavier castle, Navarra (now part of Spain). He was a Roman Catholic missionary who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Asia and was the co-founder of the Society of Jesus. Francis Xavier was beatified by Pope Paul V on 25th October 1619, and was canonized by Pope Gregory XV on 22nd March 1622. Pope Pius XI proclaimed him the “Patron of Catholic Missions”. His feast is celebrated on 3rd December.

The body of St Francis Xavier which miraculously defied the laws of nature, of turning into dust, lies till this day in a silver casket in the Church of Bom Jesus Basilica in Goa, India. Ceremonies to honor his death are performed on December 3rd, all over the World, the day he was buried.

The Tomb of St. Francis Xavier:

In Bom Jesus Basilica Old Goa, the body was kept on the third floor of the residential wing of Bom Jesus Church,Old Goa called Casa Professa de Bom Jesus.

In 1622, the Catholic Church canonised Francis but the news reached Goa in 1623 and the occasion was solemnized in 1624. At that time the body of St. Francis was taken to the Chapel of St. Francis of Borgia in the Bom Jesus Church and the coffin was in a silver casket. By 1637 the body of the Saint had been placed in a new silver casket. This casket was made by Goan silversmiths between 1636-1637. There are 32 silver plates on all four sides of the casket depicting different episodes from the life of the Saint. In 1659 the silver casket was taken to the chapel opposite to the chapel of St. Francis of Borgia.

In 1698 a magnificent Florentine Mausoleum was erected in Old Goa and the silver casket containing the coffin was placed on top of it. The tomb of St. Francis Xavier has three parts, namely, the altar, the Florentine mausoleum and the silver casket.

The Body of St. Francis Xavier:

St. Francis Xavier died on 3rd December 1552, on the Chinese island of Shangchuan, at the age of 46.

Before his final resting place in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in 1624, his body was buried in three different countries. Each time the body was exhumed, it was found to be fresh and incorrupt.

St Francis was regarded as a saint during his lifetime, and was canonized in 1662. The body, having resisted extensive decay, is now in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, where it was placed into a silver casket on December 2, 1637. The silver casket is lowered for public viewing only during the public exposition which occurs for the duration of 6 weeks every 10 years, the most recent of which took place in 2004.

For the first time the Body of St. Francis Xavier was exposed for public veneration in the Church of S. Paulo in an open coffin, on March 16, 17 and 18 of 1554 soon after it was brought to Goa. On the fourth day it was buried near the main altar. It was exhumed six years later and never buried again. In 1665 the relics was taken to the present Chapel. Over the years there have been numerous private and public expositions of the scared relics of St. Francis Xavier. The vestments of the saint, the coffin where is lays, the casket that hold the coffin and the tomb where his relics rest have also undergone changes over the years. Numerous miraculous healings have been recorded and verified on many occasions.

Mass Timings:




Morning - 8 am, 9.15 am (Konkani)& 10.15 am (English)

Evening - 6 pm (Konkani)

Week Days

Morning - 7 am & 8 am

Evening – 6 pm

Holy Hour

First Friday of the month at 5 pm followed by mass.

Bom Jesus Experience – Retreats

Only on Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm

Friday – in Konkani

Saturday – in English


Daily : Before/ After mass

Other times – contact any resident priest.



City           : Old Goa

Dist.          : Goa

State         : Goa

Country   : India

PIN           : 403402

How To Reach:

By Air:

The nearest airport at Dabolim (30 km from Panaji) has frequent flights from Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kochi, besides chartered flights from overseas.

By Rail:

The two railway stations- at Vasco da Gama and Margao- also have a number of trains arriving at Goa from the rest of the country.

By Road:

There are frequent bus connections to Old Goa from Panaji and other places in Goa.

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