07/17/2015, 00.00
Send to a friend

After Joseph Vaz, the Goa Church wants another Sri Lankan saint

The Indian-born Fr Jacome Gonsalves authored scores of Christian texts, which Vaz used in his evangelisation work in Sri Lanka, the former Ceylon. His opus includes 42 religious texts in Tamil and Sinhalese, a first for those languages.

Goa (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Catholic Church in Goa (India) is considering the possibility of starting the cause of canonisation for Fr Jacome Gonsalves, who was a fellow missionary with Saint Joseph Vaz in Sri Lanka in the 18th century.

Declared a saint on 14 January by Pope Francis during his trip to the island nation formerly known as Ceylon, the Indian-born Vaz is considered a model of evangelisation for all of Asia.

Fr Eremita Rebello, former vice-postulator for the cause of canonisation of Joseph Vaz, is studying Fr Gonsalves’ life to see whether he too might be destined for sainthood.

Born on 8 June 1676 in Divar, Gonsalves joined the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri (the Oratorians) as a novice on 2 November 1700 in Cruz dos Milagres (Old Goa).

Described as figure with many aspects to his personality, the priest was also a linguist, a poet and a writer.

After arriving in Ceylon, Vaz asked him to write Christian texts so that he could bring the Word of God to the island.

His large output includes, among other things, 42 works written in Tamil and Sinhalese, a first for the country, as well as a catechism of the Catholic Church.

Nicknamed the "father of Sinhalese Christian literature," he died at Bolawatte on 17 July 1742.

In his book on Gonsalves, the famous Church historian SG Perera said that both he and Vaz stand out in the history of the Catholic faith in Sri Lanka.

"Father Vaz did the planning, Father Gonsalves watered the vineyard of Ceylon, and God made it grow. The modern Church of Ceylon owes its existence, numbers, traditions and literature to these two priests.”

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Celebrations to honour Fr Gonsalves and the Blessed Vaz, “founders” of the Church in Sri Lanka
Catholics celebrating the Blessed Joseph Vaz, “Apostle of Sri Lanka”
Blessed Joseph Vaz to reawaken the mission in Sri Lanka
Catholics celebrate 150th anniversary of Helena of Gonawila's stigmata (photos)
12/02/2020 17:11
Young Catholics: Pope Francis and St Joseph Vaz are "our heroes"


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”