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Hindus would welcome papal visit to Goa

Ritu Sharma, New Delhi

April 9, 2013

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The Hindu nationalist party that rules Goa state says it would welcome Pope Francis to this former Portuguese colony if he decides to come for the exposition of Saint Francis Xavier's body next year.

The Goa branch of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was responding to Church statements to the media saying that Church officials plan to invite Pope Francis for the once-in-a-decade exposition, in which the remains of the Jesuit saint's body will be displayed to pilgrims for veneration.

"The state government would extend its support to the Goa Church if the pope decided to visit the state,” Wilfred Mesquita, vice-president of the BJP's Goa unit, told yesterday.

Father Savio Baretto, rector of Bom Jesus Basilica, told that chances of the pope visiting are quite high as he himself is a Jesuit.

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