It was a cool and calm night with the stars shining bright over the Goan sky as Christians in the State celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ at midnight.
All the churches in the State were brightly lit and well decorated to mark this second most important festival of the Christian community and the faithful attended the mid-night mass.
The Archbishop of Goa Philip Neri Ferrao led the faithful with a service at Se Cathedral, Old Goa.
In his Christmas message he said Christmas is an universal invitation to humankind: an invitation to fraternity and friendship, to unity and peace and above all to make space for God in our life and society.
“This is actually God’s dream for the humankind he created. By taking flesh, God identified himself with humans and, in so doing, he demands that we should recognise him in every other human being, regardless of creed, colour or social condition,” he said adding: “When we do this, we create a space for God in our daily life and we become the leaven of a new society, wherein everyone is welcomed, accepted and loved.”
In conclusion the Archbishop said: “We can then join hands with one another and work together to recreate our world into a place where justice, peace, understanding and forgiveness shine out. May this Christmas find us more involved in the realisation of our God’s dream.”
Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Governor S S Sidhu also extended their greetings to the people of Goa.
“Let us on this occasion of ‘natal’ rededicate ourselves to make Goa an ideal State in the country wherein every individual will be employed or engaged in gainful employment and thereby earn decent living,” said Digambar Kamat.
While the Governor said: “On the auspicious eve of Christmas, let us rededicate ourselves to live together as members of one family and work for the greater glory and progress of the nation, in keeping with the spirit of the message of Jesus Christ.”
However the rising prices particularly of onions and garlic dampened the festive spirits in Goa even though chief minister tried to play Santa Claus by subsidizing onions on the eve of Christmas.