|Fr. Savio Barreto, S.J.|
The authorities at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa have begun loaning shawls to visitors at the Basilica who are dressed inappropriately and wish to see the interiors of the 16th century baroque-styled monument. Church authorities or volunteers have now begun screening tourists before they enter the Basilica and those who are found dressed inappropriately are given a shawl which they will have to wear and return once they conclude their visit to the Jesuit monument housing the sacred relics of Jesuit saint and patron of the missions ~ St Francis Xavier.
The rule applies for both men and women, given that it was found that it was not only women who dress scantily but men too saunter in wearing singlet and are made to either wear a shirt if they have one or a shawl.
Speaking to Herald, Rector of the Basilica Fr Savio Barreto, S.J. said that the move was a result of a decision taken ‘long ago’ following complaints from the faithful that it was unacceptable and portrayed a complete lack of respect and decorum on the part of the tourists, both in their attire as well as their talk as it was not in keeping with the decorum of the place.
“This was something we had said we would do and would put up boards that all tourists should be dressed appropriately if they wish to enter the Basilica. Many people had complained that the tourists were not dressing properly and were offended by it,”
Fr Barreto said adding that the shawls were being handed over by the volunteers at the Basilica.More than a year ago, the church authorities had installed a signboard asking tourists to dress appropriately and maintain decorum. However, the written directions did not work, bringing about the need to give shawls to the tourists. Tourists are sometimes attired in beachwear since they come to the basilica as part of all Goa sightseeing tours that cover several locations including beaches in a single day. Many of these tours coincide with religious services that are conducted at the churches.