PANAJI: Pope's ambassador to India Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio will be present for the concluding mass of the once-in-ten-year celebration of the relics of St Francis in Goa.
"Papal representative Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio will host the concluding mass for the exposition which will be held from November 22, 2014 to January 4, 2015," Fr Alfred Vaz, convener of St Francis Xavier Exposition Committee, told PTI today.
"The inaugural mass for the exposition will be celebrated by Archbishop of Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias," he said.
Pope Francis had earlier conveyed his inability to attend the event.
The inaugural mass would be held in Konkani language by Archbishop Gracias, who hails from Goa and has a command over the local language, Vaz said.
The organisers have decided that everyday the morning mass would be held in Konkani, while evening mass will be in English. The afternoon masses would be dependent on the request by pilgrims, he said. About 50 lakh people are expected to participate in the event, he said.
"Several times a group of pilgrims request for the mass in their languages. We allow them to conduct it when they are accompanied by their priest," Vaz said.
The masses in Spanish, Portuguese and even regional Indian languages were held during the event in past.
The theme for the exposition this year would be 'faith creates communion, strengthens family, commissions to renew society', he said. "The Churches across Goa have already begun delivering masses in line with the theme," he said.
The exposition this time is expected to have devotees from across the globe.
"We even had pilgrims from Pakistan during the last exposition. We are expecting Pakistani devotees this year also," he said.