Basilica to remove volunteers posted to check indecently dressed

The word has gone out through the guides and others that one needs to dress modestly when entering the Basilica, said the rector.

Panaji:  The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa is planning to withdraw volunteers posted outside the historic church to offer a shawl to the ‘inappropriately’ clad. Since they were first posted two years ago, volunteers seem to have achieved the desired result and will now be withdrawn shortly, according to the Basilica’s guardians. “Volunteers do not need to stand there anymore as a rule every day. The word has gone out through the guides and others that one needs to dress modestly when entering the Basilica,” said Fr. Savio Baretto, rector of the Basilica. “The tourists know about the shawls. The needed awareness has been created and tourists now prefer to come modestly dressed to avoid being given a shawl later. The volunteers will be withdrawn soon as the necessary purpose has mostly been achieved,” said the priest. He said when officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) raised fears that posting of the volunteers may affect the inflow of tourists, Basilica officials had made it clear that the arrangement was only a temporary measure. “We have orally conveyed to ASI as well that it is not a permanent feature. I am happy now that we do not get the kind of skimpily-dressed tourists, mostly foreigners, as before,” said the Basilica rector. “I am not comfortable with the giving of shawls myself. But then no other church gets people dressed like that,” he added. He admitted that the volunteers posted were often from parishes in villages of Goa and what they had to say was often lost-in-translation when handing out a shawl to a foreign tourist. The move of posting the volunteers had received wide appreciation from Goans from across the religious spectrum and the Basilica had been heaped with such mails in 2011, the Basilica rector added. “It wasn’t a code as such, as everyone called it. The main aim behind handing out the shawls was to create awareness that one needs to come appropriately dressed as we have the blessed sacrament preserved in the church and it is the presence of God for us, which needs to be respected,” he said. The church officials said the decision was not implemented overnight, as it might seem to many, but the church had been considering ways of curbing skimpily-dressed visitors from entering the sacred home of God for five years before the volunteers were posted. Source: times of india

Basiica Of Bom Jesus , Old Goa , Volunteers , Fr. Savio Baretto 

ASI, church lock horns over dress code in Goa

Life may be a beach, but no bikinis in Basilica please

By Cithara Paul – NEW DELHI

Published: 09th Jun 2013 11:02:48 AM

    • Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa
      Basilica of Bom Jesus in GoaIn the midst of BJP’s Goa conclave, the ASI and the world famous cathedrals in the state are once again locking horns over itsy bitsy bikinis that are a common sight in one of India’s oldest sea side destinations.

In the midst of BJP’s Goa conclave, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the world famous cathedrals in the state are once again locking horns over itsy bitsy bikinis that are a common sight in one of India’s oldest and most popular sea side destinations. The cathedrals are under the purview of ASI. The church administrators are opposed to worshippers coming to church in bikinis—a sight rare in other churches of the world. The ASI says it cannot ban the bikini. Caught in the middle is Goa’s BJP government. On the other hand, 4.5 million foreign tourists visited Goa last year; foreign exchange earnings

for the last three years were $43-57 million. The debate in Goa is whether the cathedrals are centres of worship or tourist destinations. The religion versus heritage conflict is mandating a balancing act by the state government between religious sentiments and foreign money.

The friction came to the fore after the authorities of the Basilica of Bom Jesus banned entry of tourists wearing “the” beachwear. Visitors coming to see the church are now screened and if a bikini-clad tourist appears keen on entering the 16th century baroque-style monument, they are asked to cover up with a shawl, provided by the church authorities.

The rules of exposure apply to both men and women.

“We are not stopping anyone from visiting the church. We are only saying that they will have to dress appropriately. One should not forget the fact that they are on holy premises,’’ said Fr Savio Barreto, Rector of the world famous basilica.

According to him, the church authorities were forced to take a stand following numerous complaints from believers about bikini-clad merrymakers ruining the sanctity and decorum of the religious place. “It is our duty to maintain the sanctity of this place of worship,’’ he said, insisting that no tourist had so far protested against the stricture that came into effect this month.

But the ASI is worried that the church ruling could hurt the image of Goa as a tourist destination.

“We are not denying the fact that the Basilica is a place of worship. But the church authorities should not forget the fact that it is being protected by ASI and is also one of the major tourist attractions of Goa,’’ an official said. He added that the ASI had sought the help of the political leadership to “solve” the matter as the issue was “quite sensitive.’’

So sensitive that it has put the ruling BJP government in a fix. “We are aware of the controversy. But it is a sensitive issue and has to be dealt with extra care especially because the state is ruled by a BJP government,’’ said an official with the State Tourism Department.

Goa now has a inflow of 2.6 million tourists every year. The government has already announced its plan to increase it to 6 million in the next five years by projecting it as a destination which has more than just “beaches and pubs”. Last year, revenue from foreign tourists was around `6,000 crore.

This is not the first time that the ASI and the Goan church authorities have locked horns on the same issue. Two years ago, the church authorities had threatened to ban the entry of bikini-clad tourists altogether. Then the matter was sorted out after ASI and church bodies reached an agreement allowing churches to put up signboards on dress code for visitors. However, the move did not work, as tourists continued to come to cathedrals in their beachwear, ignoring the advice on the boards to be appropriately dressed.

“We have been forced to take this decision as the signboards were not taken seriously by the tourists,’’ said a priest of the Basilica, which houses the relics of St Francis Xavier, patron saint of Goa who died in 1552. He pointed out that it is not just the churches which are trying to put a dress code in place. “A number of temples, including the Mangesh temple and Mahalsa Narayani Temple have already been doing this,’’ he said.

But ASI insists that there is no comparison between footfalls in the famous Goan cathedrals and the temples. “Moreover, they are not under the protection of ASI,’’ said the official.

In fact, bikini is an issue not just for religious institutions alone but also for ruling governments. At various points of time, successive Goan governments have moved to ban bikinis from beaches following law and order issues and pressures from local people, only to backtrack. After all, Goa’s positioning in the tourist maps as a beach destination was at stake.

Source: The Sunday Standard

Body of Saint Francis Xavier in a silver caske...

Body of Saint Francis Xavier in a silver casket of Basilica of Bom Jésus in Goa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goa church miffed with ASI’s move to remove paintings

The paintings have apparently been taken away for restoration.



The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has angered the authorities of an ancient church in Old Goa for allegedly removing paintings without informing them while carrying out restoration work in the church premises.

The paintings have apparently been taken away for restoration as Se Cathedral is getting ready for the decennial exposition of relics of St Francis Xavier, scheduled next year.

Fr Leonard Correia, parish priest of Se Cathedral, the country’s largest church, wrote a letter to ASI officials last week claiming that the paintings were removed from various corners and altars without informing him or parishioners.

One of the parishioners on basis of anonymity said that the biblical paintings are priceless and there should be some responsibility on the part of the ASI to inform church authorities before removing them.

Fr. Correia in his letter to ASI, a copy of which is also marked to Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman said that “there is no coordination between ASI and church authorities when such important step is being taken (of taking away the paintings).”

The ASI should have begun the restoration work much earlier as one-and-half year is left for the decennial exposition, considered as one of the biggest religious celebration for Catholics, the parishioner said.

“The slabs are falling. There are places where wall paintings have caved in. ASI should immediately start the work by consulting the church authorities,” he said.

The church is known for its Portuguese-Manueline architectural style. Its construction began in 1562 and completed in 1619.

Source: business standard

Goa , ASI , Paintings , St Francis Xavier , Se Cathedral


Voyages of St. Francis Xavier, a Catholic miss...

Voyages of St. Francis Xavier, a Catholic missionary who preached in Malacca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goa church to put up dress code signs

The church, which houses the relics of St. Francis Xavier, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year.

Posted on May 27, 2012, 7:48 AM


The Vision of St Francis Xavier

The Vision of St Francis Xavier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Goa’s Bom Jesu Basilica plans to put up sign boards on dress code for visitors.

The church, built and managed by Jesuits since 1605 in Old Goa, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year as it contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier.

Basilica rector Fr. Savio Barretto, told reporters that the decision on the sign boards was taken at a meeting of the church management with the Archaeological Survey of India on Friday.

The sign boards, he added, will request visitor to dress properly rather than impose a ban on scantily-dressed visitors. Such a ban might offend the visitors, Fr. Barretto said.

The Jesuit priest said his parishioners had protested the “inappropriately” dressed tourists, who usually come during Masses. Some even suggested barring such tourists from the church, he added.

“First, we will install the sign-board and see,” he said. The church would take care to use the right words on the sign-board that do not hurt tourists.

The church officials have recruited some people to check tourists and their dresses.

The first to impose dress code in Goa were two Hindu temples, Shree Manguesh temple (Mangueshi) and Mahalsa Narayani Temple (Mardol).


Dress Code , Bom Jesus , Goa , Sign Boards , Basilica
St Francis Xavier

St Francis Xavier (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)










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