For Goa church, it's IFFI versus saint's feast | india | Hindustan Times
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For Goa church, it's IFFI versus saint's feast

The Church has hit out at the Goa government for promoting 'questionable values' by holding events like the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) compared to religious events that promote 'love peace and harmony'.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2011 12:47 IST

The Church has hit out at the Goa government for promoting 'questionable values' by holding events like the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) compared to religious events that promote 'love peace and harmony'.

The criticism comes ahead of the Nov 22-Dec 2 IIFI, which coincides with a popular saint's feast in Goa.

Fr Savio Barreto, the Rector of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, said the Goa government was dragging its feet over resolving the clash of dates of the feast of St Francis Xavier, Goa's patron saint, and IFFI.

"I personally feel this is a clash of values. Here we are trying to promote love, peace and unity, whereas the government is supporting events that promote questionable values," Fr Barreto said.

"It is this clash of values that is destroying our religious heritage and is trivialising it. Why can't the government see this and change the dates?" Fr Barreto said.

IFFI is by far the biggest government organised event in Goa.

The Novena of the Spanish saint’s feast begins Nov 24 in preparation for the feast Dec 3. The feast is by far Goa's single largest congregation of people with more than three lakh people congregating over a 10-day event, in memory of the saint who brought Christianity to Goa.

Fr Barreto claims he had first written to the government in 2006 seeking a change of dates saying the 'energy of the government' was directed towards IFFI whereas the energy of the people was on the feast.

He said that because of the film festival, the state runs out of metal detectors, forcing police to put up fewer gates open at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the venue of the feast, leading to further crowds.

Goa has been the venue of IFFI since 2004. Since then, IFFI has been organised on the same dates as that of the novena of the feast of St Francis Xavier.

What has peeved the church authorities more is that prior to Goa being made the venue, IFFI in New Delhi was organised during the final week of October.

In a statement to the media, director of Information and Publicity Menino Peres said the dates were decided at the "international level" and there was little the state government could do about it.

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