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