The Miraculous Cross and its church in the Old city of Goa has an interesting history behind it.
The old city of Goa was once referred to as the “Rome of the East”.
In this city there existed as many as 38 churches, chapels and convents.
It was once the capital city of the Portuguese Empire and the centre of Christianity in the East. It is understood that nowadays solely 13 churches and chapels are standing in the Old City of Goa.
The City of Old Goa is a valley in between three hills. The 0.33 hill which is referred to as ‘Boa Vista’ (Hill of Good View) homes the church of the cross of miracles (Cruz dos Milagres).
Attached to it is a big convent of the congregation of Oratorians and these days constructed St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre.
According to history in the year 1619, a miracle took place on the third hill. Some shepherds who used to graze the cattle on the hill made the cross and planted it on the hill. Red flags were miraculously seen flying about Boa Vista hill.
At night rays of bright light were seen emanating from the sky and falling on the cross. Later on, a crucified human being was also seen on the cross by the locals which were unwrapped in dazzling light and the body covered with wounds.
Then the cross which was 3 yards tall grew to 5 yards. The news of the miraculous happening grew like wildfire. Many sick people who came to the phenomenon were healed of their sickness.
From 1961 Goans began to celebrate the mass on 23 of every month in the church of the Holy cross on Boa Vista hill. The dilapidated church was rebuilt and the devotion on the miraculous cross was renewed.
Canonical investigations additionally reportedly conventional that the cures and healings have been supernatural and ordered to preserve the cross in the church of Our Lady of Light (Nossa Senhora de Luz) which was at the foot of the hill and is now non-existent.
From then on, the devotion to the miraculous cross commenced and the feast was celebrated in the cathedral.
The Augustinian monks residing at Santa Monica reportedly constructed the shrine at the vicinity the place the miraculous cross stood and the cross was once installed there.
In 1659 when the church collapsed the cross was taken back to the Church of Our Lady of Light. In1835 when the king of Portugal suppressed all religious orders, the Oratorians residing at Cruz dos Milagres were forced to vacate the place.
The miraculous cross was shifted to the Cathedral church in 1845. The revival reportedly came during the 8th exposition of the body of St. Francis Xavier in 1931.
From 1961 Goans began to celebrate the mass on the 23rd of every month in the church of the Holy Cross on the Boa Vista hill.
The dilapidated church was rebuilt and the devotion of the miraculous cross was renewed. ‘Canjie’ was served to the pilgrims in remembrance of Blessed Joseph Vaz who has now been canonized. In the year 2011 the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman planned to build and renovate the church, the Milagristas convent in order to build a Spiritual Renewal Centre.
The work was carried out in phases. In the first phase the restoration of the church and the priest’s residence was completed. Phase two was building the Spiritual Centre. Phase three saw renovation of the Milagristas Convent. On 17th November 2014 the Spiritual Renewal Centre was inaugurated and latter dedicated to St. Joseph Vaz and named as St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre. In 2013 Fr. Lourenco Mascarenhas was put in charge of the renovated church.
Latter on Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao appointed Fr. Lourenco Mascarenhas as rector of Cruz dos Milagres and Fr. Henry Falcao as the director of St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre. Currently every day spiritual services are held at Cruz dos Milagres church and a variety of renewal programs, retreats, seminars, etc, are held at the Spiritual Renewal Centre. These programs are attended through humans belonging to a variety of parishes from throughout the country and even from the neighbouring states.