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Basilica of Bom Jesus: The Largest Church in Asia and Custodian of the Remains of St. Francis Xavier

Basilica of Bom Jesus

The main altar features the infant Jesus. Above the main altar is a statue of St. Ignatius Loyola.

"Bom Jesus" means "Infant Jesus" in Portuguese. This basilica in Goa, located in the Konkan region of India, is not only the largest Catholic church in Asia but also the custodian of the remains of St. Francis Xavier.

The basilica measures 183 feet in length, 55 feet in width, and stands 61 feet tall. 

Its three-story facade is a construction of granite, blending the Doric, Corinthian, and Composite orders to render style. 

The full lengths of the buttresses are a construction of red bricks. 

Its main entrance is a tall and arched door flanked by two smaller and rectangular doors serving as aisles. Each of the doors is flanked by Corinthian columns. 

The belfry was built at the rear of the church 

The inside of the church suggests Mosaico-Corinthian influences. 

At the far end of the cruciform church, the main altar tinged with gold is located, measuring 54 feet tall and 30 feet wide. A medallion is featured depicting the Trinity. 

The main altar is flanked by two other altars. One is dedicated to Our Lady of Hope, and the other to St. Michael. 

The main altar features the infant Jesus. Above the main altar is a statue of St. Ignatius Loyola.

On the right side beneath the choir loft, an altar is dedicated to St. Anthony. At the left stands a wooden statue of St. Francis Xavier. 

A cenotaph was built on the northern wall of the basilica. The cenotaph honors Dom Jeronimo Mascarenhas, who provided the funds to build this church. Macarenhas was a captain of Cochin, a city in southwest India's coastal state of Kerala. 

The figures of Christ, the four evangelists, and the four doctors of the Church are featured on the three sides of the pulpit. 

On the northern side of the transept, the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is located. 

On the southern side of the transept, the chapel in custody of the remains of St. Francis Xavier is located. The chapel features artworks and wood carvings that recount the life of the saint. 

Taking care of the remains of the saint in this massive church in Goa is an expression of gratitude to him for evangelizing this state. 

Francis, a Basque Spaniard missionary, set foot in Goa in 1542. Before spreading the Good News, he helped in treating the sick for a number of months. 

He was one of the missionaries who sowed the seeds of the Catholic faith in India. 

A catechism he translated into Tamil with the assistance of interpreters, was instrumental in the conversion of Indians. He preached in villages one after another. 

He also went on a mission to Ceylon, the Malay archipelago, and Japan. He returned to India in 1548 after his mission in Japan. 

Francis realized the conversion of China would lead to the conversion of most of Japan. At the time, Japan looked to China for wisdom. But he never reached China. 

According to scholars' estimates, despite language barriers in countries he visited, Francis converted 30,000 people before he died at the age of 46 in 1552. 

Contrary to critics, a study revealed that Francis did not abandon his converts after baptism. He nurtured the conversions by giving them sustained pastoral care. 

He advocated the idea that the mission should adapt to the culture of the locals in evangelizing them. 

The places in India he evangelized are still Catholics up to the present. 

Yes, the communities he founded in Japan and Moluccas, an east Indonesian archipelago, were destroyed, but only after the persecution and killing of thousands of his converts. 

He was traveling to China when he died of a fever on Shangchuan Island, an island of the Chuanshan Archipelago on the southern coast of Guangdong, China. 

He was first buried on Shangchuan Island. His remains were taken to Portuguese Malacca in March 1553. His remains were taken to Goa in December of the same year 

Francis was cited as the patron of all missions in 1927.

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