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Updated: February 12, 1992 05:00 PM GMT
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PANAJI, India (UCAN)--The Dominicans are back in Goa, a former Portuguese colony on the west coast, which they were forced to abandon 156 years ago following a plague.

Monks and novices of the Order of Preachers are now seen going about their ministry along the country roads that wind over the rolling hills of Moira village, some 15 kilometers north of Panaji, the state capital.

The order opened a novitiate in Moira in October 1991, and formally celebrated their return to the village Dec. 13 with vice provincial Father Peter Lobo presiding at a special Mass.

As a welcoming gift, villagers gave them a plot of land for a house.

Dominican Father Prakash Lohale told UCA News in December that in his short time in Goa he has discovered the immense potential for the youth and that is where the order will focus its attention.

He said youthful energy is waiting to be channeled and given direction, and that the order has great hopes for the Goan youth.

Youth movement member Cypriano Fernandes told UCA News that he is enthusiastic about what is happening in the community.

He explained that youth in the village felt unwanted until the Dominican┬┤s arrival. "We now have a good reason to live. Even our parents have begun to respond positively to us," Fernandes added.

He said the youth plan to reach out to the community and address local issues.

Father K.C. Joseph, superior of the Dominican novitiate, told UCA News that the main reason for their re-establishment in Goa is to foster vocations to the order.

He noted that the Goan Church has sent several men and women to work in different parts of the world as missioners.

Tradition says the Order of Preachers, founded by St. Dominic in 1215, came to India in 1291 and arrived in Goa in 1584. India┬┤s first Latin rite bishop was Dominican Jordon Cataloni Severac of Quilon in South India in l329.

The Dominican legacy in Goa includes structures such as the 17th century Se Cathedral in Old Goa, which faces the Basilica of Bom Jesu where the body of St. Francis Xavier is kept, and the College of St. Thomas Aquinas in nearby Sao Pedro.


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