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Carmelite order set to mark 400 years of existence in Goa, India

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Carmelite order set to mark 400 yrs of existence in Goa

TNN | Nov 28, 2016, 03.11 AM IST

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COLVA: The Carmelite order is all set to mark 400 years of its presence in Goa with the feast of its first martyrs, Blessed Dionysius (Dennis) and Redemptus. Celebrations will be held on Tuesday at the ruins of the first foundation monastery in Old Goa. Every year, the Carmelites observe this feast as a mark of remembrance of their first martyrs.

Fr Archibald Gonsalves, superior of the Carmelite monastery in Margao, told TOI that the Discalced Carmelites of Goa will remember and celebrate the feast of their first martyrs, Blessed Dionysius and Redemptus, at the ruins of the first foundation monastery, Old Goa, on November 29 at 4pm. The feast mass will be celebrated by Fr Charles Serrao OCD, provincial of the Karnataka-Goa province of the Carmelites. Fr Sylvestre D’Souza OCD, councillor for spirituality will deliver the homily.

In the 17th century, Fr Leander of the Annunciation, a native of Burgos in Spain, contacted authorities in Goa for the purpose of setting up a foundation in the state.

Without much difficulty, Fr Leander was able to secure a temporary licence from Archbishop Don Cristobal de Sa Lisboa to put up a church and a modest residence, which soon grew into a novitiate community.

The archbishop and viceroy contributed to the construction of a magnificent church which was inaugurated on April 25, 1620 and completed in 1621. Today, one can see the ruins of the first foundation Carmelite monastery at this plac, where over 100 friars were trained.

It has become a pilgrim site for nearly 20,000 Carmelites living in Asia. There are tombs of significant personalities of royal families and of Carmelite friars on the premises and in the Convento Di Carmo church.

It is recalled that Blessed Redemptus, a Portuguese soldier, joined the Carmelites to be a non-clerical Carmelite brother through a profession of vows in 1635 at Old Goa. The other was Fr Dionysius, a French sailor and a cartographer, who was admitted into the novitiate at Old Goa in the year 1635.

When the ambassador, Francis D’Souza was to leave for the East Indies on the request of the government, his superiors allowed Fr Dionysius to go along with the diplomatic mission sent by the viceroy to the sultan of Acheh in the East Indies. He was accompanied by Redemptus of the Cross.

While the ambassador and his troupe were released, Fr Dionysius and Redemptus were enslaved for some time, and subjected to torture before they were martyred on November 29, 1638.

These first martyrs of the Teresian Carmel were beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1900.