In the footsteps of Blessed Joseph Vaz

The churches of Goa as well as Sri Lanka will celebrate on 16th January the feast of Blessed Joseph Vaz, the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Goa & Daman, and Apostle of Sri Lanka. This day will mark the 301st anniversary of his death. Joseph Vaz was born on 21 April 1651 in Benaulim, Goa, and died on 16 January 1711 in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

“When all the European Catholic missionaries in Sri Lanka had been banished by the Dutch, when all the efforts of the Holy See to bring a few missionaries into the country had failed, when it was not possible to bring missionaries to work in the Island even in disguise because of their colour, when humanly speaking, there was no help possible from any quarter, God in His mercy sent us help in a most unexpected manner. He sent us an Apostle from India – Fr.  Joseph Vaz.

-  Apostolic letter of the Catholic Bishops of Sri Lanka, 13 November 1987, Colombo.

Blessed Jose VazThe heroic courage and his selfless missionary work of Blessed Joseph Vaz, who became a beggar and a coolie in order to serve God’s people in distant Ceylon, fired in the hearts of seven of our priests from Saligao a missionary vocation to join the Oratorians of Goa with a view of following in the footsteps of Blessed Joseph Vaz and his band of tireless missionaries. They are as follows:

1) Fr. Leonardo Ribeiro, from Grande Morodd in Saligao. Being ordained priest in Goa on 18 December 1773, he went to Ceylon in 1785. He became Superior and Vicar General over there on 29 June 1802 until 28 June 1805. He returned to Goa in 1807 after 22 years of missionary service and died in the Convent of Cruz dos Milagres, Old Goa, on 29 December 1819.

2) Fr. Pedro Alexandrino. He arrived in Ceylon on 15 March 1821. At that time he was 27 years of age. He held a Master’s degree and was ordained priest in Goa on 19 January 1817. He worked in Ceylon till 1830.

3) Fr. Antonio de Mendonca from Cotula. He was 30 years old and has spent eight and half years in the Congregation when he moved to Ceylon on 22 June 1828. He worked as a missionary until 1835. He was ordained priest in Goa on 1 June 1822.

4) Fr. Pedro Caetano de Sousa, from Arrarim in Saligao. He lived in the Oratorian Congregation for seven full years, and when he completed the age of 28 in 1832, he worked as a missionary in Ceylon until 1838. He was ordained priest on 5 June 1830. He died in Saligao on 26 June 1868.

5) Fr. Pedro de Noronha from Grande Morodd was 32 years when he went to Ceylon on 5 March 1833. He had spent nine years, nine months and 25 days in the Congregation when he set out from the Convent of Cruz dos Milagres in Old Goa to go to the Island. He worked for 15 years in Ceylon. He was ordained priest in Goa on 29 September 1824.

6) Fr. Zeferino de Siqueira from Arrarim in Saligao. He was the son of Cosme Damiao de Siqueira (Saligao) and of Zeferina Mascarenhas (Socorro). He was an Oratorian and was ordained priest on 31 December 1794. He was Professor of the Seminary of Chorao in 1814. Thereafter he was in the Convent of Cruz dos Milagres, Old Goa.

7) Fr. Pascoal Serrao from Cotula. He was ordained priest in Goa on 20 September 1828 as an Oratorian. He died on 14 September 1846.

Sanctuary of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Sancoale, Goa

Sanctuary of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Sancoale, Goa


3 comments on In the footsteps of Blessed Joseph Vaz

  • Jules Fausto de Sa

    Dear Fr Nascimento,
    I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy New Year 2012. May the year ahead bring you Joy, Peace and most of all good health to enable you to provide us with your wonderful writings.
    In this article you have given wonderful information on the Missionaries who followed in the footsteps of Blessed Jose Vaz. I was particularly interested to see the name of Fr Pascoal Serrao, who I am sure must have been the brother of one of my ancestors. Would you have more details on him?
    Also, you have mentioned the name of Fr Antonio Mendonca from Cotula. I would presume that he would probably figure out somewhere in the ancestry of the Mendoncas who’s house is now an Old Age home. Please clarify?
    Jules Fausto

    • Shenaz

      Dear Mr Jules Fausto de Sa,

      I would like some information on the birth records of Armand De Souza that you have listed on the Geni site. Please contact me on the email I have given you.

      Thank you,

  • Jules Fausto Mendonca de Sa

    Dear Shenaz,
    Kindly send me the query through my email address and I will respond to you.

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