Panaji: With just two weeks left for the 17th decennial exposition of relics of St Francis Xavier in Goa, organisers have decided to ensure that each of the pilgrims arriving here is able to spend more time with the casket housing the relics.
"Earlier the pilgrims would kiss the casket carrying the relics and go. The pilgrims sometimes used to complain that they have to queue up for three hours to kiss the relics but don't even get five seconds to spend with it," Fr Alfred Vaz, Convener for the 2014 exposition, told PTI.
"That is why this time we have decided to create a semi-circle so that they are able to see the relics. They can take two rounds of the casket and then kiss the relics and move out so that they can feel close to the relics. We have worked on it from the feedback that we got from the past experiences," said Vaz.
"After kissing the sacred relics (body kept for veneration), the pilgrims can come in the church (Se Cathedral) again and pray. They can spend more time," he added.
The relics which are currently housed at Basilica of Bom Jesus Church would be brought in process to Se Cathedral Church situated a kilometre away on November 22 and it would be open for public viewing till January 4, 2015.
Besides, the organisers have strictly discouraged preferential viewings of the patron saint except for the VIPs.
Fr Vaz said that there is a list of 51 VIPs including Chief Minister and Archbishop of Goa approved by the state who will get preferential viewing of the relics, bypassing long queues.
Apart from the 100 CCTV cameras in Se Cathedral and Bom Jesus Church, there would be three more cameras that would be focusing on the relics day and night, Fr Vaz said.
Ahead of the event, the complex at Old Goa which is a home to several ancestral churches is being extensively renovated by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which has classified all the structures here as heritage structures.