Today, October 4, 2009, is the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, the patron of Anjuna village!
Actually, St. Michael's special day is celebrated on September 29, but the Anjuna parish always celebrates the feast on the following Sunday.
On this auspicious day, I thought I would drop a few lines on the background of our
church and the patron saint.
The spiritual winds of Christianity swept across the coastal village of Anjuna in North Goa, in 1603, when the majestic Church of St Michael the Archangel was erected by the early Portuguese Franciscan missionaries who had been entrusted with evangelization of the district of Bardez in Goa.
Due to their zealous endeavor in this region, there already existed a growing Christian community. Accordingly, the original church was rebuilt in 1713. The church was demolished and enlarged anew in 1897 while Fr. Caetano Xavier F. Brás Afonso, (from Calangute) was the parish priest, to provide a better ventilated interior, retaining the architectural features of the seventeenth century.
The local laity has always come forward to embellish and adorn this House of God with their donations and offerings. But their most significant contribution has been the sons of the village in great number who have become priests, as well as some of its daughters who have joined religious congregations. Both of these have ably served the far-flung Archdiocese of Goa.
The whole Church, including altars, was painted last month; the painting project got over on the eve of the first novena, which began on September 25.
The front cover of the 3rd quarterly parish bulletin of Anjuna, ‘San Minguelacho Avaz,’ carries the picture of the main altar (attached,) which houses the statue of the patron with a scale in his left hand, a “balo” (spear) in his right hand and the demon under his feet.
During our childhood we were told that the scale was to weigh our sins.
ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
God made heaven and earth and all the angels and all the extra important angels, called Archangels. The Archangels were God’s very special friends and were shining and strong and powerful.
One of the Archangels was called Michael. He was ‘the angel of the Lord’, who was sent to Moses and Jacob and Abraham and to other people throughout the history of the world.
Another Archangel was Lucifer, who was so beautiful that the other angels called him
‘the son of the morning.’
Everybody was very happy because they were with God, and they all loved Him. Then
one day Lucifer said to himself: Why should God be the most important person in
Heaven? Why, shouldn't I be? I can fly and I can change into other things, and I am
beautiful and I am powerful. In fact, I am just as important as God, and I shall not do what He tells me ever again. I shall fight Him and have Heaven for mine!
So, Lucifer went around Heaven, and he collected a lot of other angels who also didn't want to be less important than God, until he had a great army. Then they marched up to God and proudly told Him that they were just as important as Him and questioned Him as to why He should be the King of heaven any more than one of them. They told Him they were strong and shining and beautiful, and that they would fight Him for the Kingdom of Heaven. God looked at them; then He said: Lucifer, I thought that you were my friend, and I trusted you. Be sensible now, and think about what you are doing.
I have thought, said Lucifer, and, I would rather not be in heaven at all than have you for my King, and so would all of us! And behind him all the rebel angels shouted with a great shout: We will follow Lucifer! Long live Lucifer! Let him reign over us in Heaven!
We do not want God!
Very well, said God, if you don't want me, you need not have me. But, if you want to
fight for Heaven, you can if you think it will be any good. Then, God called Michael the Archangel, and made him gather together a mighty army of angels who were on God's side.
Then there was a great battle in heaven - Michael and his Angels fighting with Lucifer; and, Lucifer fought, and his angels fought; but, they did not win. And Michael drove Lucifer right out of Heaven, and he fell down, and down to hell. And all his bad angels were driven down after him, and as the last one disappeared from sight forever and the gate of heaven clanged shut, a great shout went up from Michael's army: Heaven has won! Rejoice and be glad all you Angels! The Good God always wins!
So, now you know why we sometimes say in our prayers, ‘Holy St. Michael the
Archangel, defend us in the Day of Battle,’ because he is so good at battles.
But, what happened to Lucifer and his rebel angels? Well, he was so furious and enraged at having lost his battle with God that he has never gotten over it. You see, he is never allowed inside heaven anymore forever and ever and ever; and, now that he can't go into heaven anymore, he is angry about it.
So, in revenge, he does everything horrible to God that he can. His worst feeling is
jealousy; who do you suppose he is jealous of? Us! Why? Because when our Lord Jesus
was crucified, He opened the Kingdom of heaven for us to go in! So Lucifer, whose other name is Satan, or the Devil, is furious because, we, ordinary people are allowed into heaven, and he, an Archangel, is not.
So, he and his angels or demons try always to stop us going into heaven by giving us bad ideas, and making us do things that we know are wrong, so as to hurt God. So, whenever you want to do or say something horrid, think of the great battle in heaven and remember that it is Lucifer who is trying to keep you on his side. If you don't do or say it, you have won and have stayed on God's side.
There is a lot of similarity between the revolt by Lucifer and our present-day political rebellion, especially in Goa, where every one of the MLAs aspires to be the Chief Minister of the State. Let us pray to St. Michael to instill a sense of fear in our politicians and to guide them to work for the betterment of the masses rather than for selfish motives.
Today’s world is full of jealousy and selfishness. Let us pray to St. Michael to rid us of this pest and lead us to the Heavenly path.
ENGLISH PRAYER OF ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
“St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke Him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl through the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
KONKANI PRAYER OF ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
BHAG. MINGUELIK AMCHEA GANVCHEA ASKAREAK MAGNNEM
Bhav. Minguel Arkanj, amchea zhuzan tum amkam rakh, amcho rakhonddar za ani
soglea vaittantlim ani devcharachea fasantlim amkam nivar ani Devan tacho nas korunk
nirmi mhonn ami tuka sorginchea Kunvra prathanv. Devache podven soitanak ani
sonvsarant monxancho ibadd kortoleam khotteam atmeacher zhuzunk amkam tuzo adhar
“Oh, onodvont Bhag. Minguel Arkanj, sorginchea Kunvra, amchea pasot atam ani
amchea mornanchea velar mag. Mhojea Deva, hanv sothmantam, hanv tuka nomoskar
kortam, mhozo bhorvonso tujer dovortam ani tuzo mog kortam. Tuka mandinant, tuka
nomoskar korinant, tujer patienant ani tuzo mog korinant tanchem hanv bhogsonnem
“Sogott Anjunkarank khuxealborit San Minguelichi porob anvddetam!” (I wish all
Anjunkars a happy St. Michael’s feast!
A Konkani tiatr titled “THAPOTT” by Roseferns will be held in the Church Hall at 6:30