Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, on Saturday 6th December 2014, joined members of Reading’s Goan community to celebrate the Feast of St Francis Xavier.
Hundreds of people attended a celebratory mass service, which took place at St James Church on Abbot’s Walk in Reading, followed by music, dancing and a feast at Whitley Community Centre.
Saint Francis Xavier, who is the Patron Saint of Goa, was a Roman Catholic missionary who was influential in spreading the Catholic faith in India. Saint Francis Xavier was active during the sixteenth century and was canonised in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. Saint Francis Xavier’s feast day is held every year in December and is celebrated by a large part of the population in Goa.
Alok Sharma said: “The Goan community in Reading are extremely well integrated, very hard-working and make a huge contribution to our local community. Everyone at the event was extremely welcoming and it was a pleasure to join many of my friends from the Goan community at this celebration of St Francis Xavier’s feast day.”
Matias Dias, President of Goan Community of Reading said: “On behalf of Goan Community of Reading we are delighted to have Alok Sharma amidst us, despite his busy schedule. Every year Alok tries to make it to our annual St Francis Xavier Feast celebrations to offer his support and wise leadership. The St Francis Xavier Feast provides an opportunity for us to demonstrate our traditions in this country and we are grateful for Alok’s wholehearted support.”