Seema Malhotra MP, MP for Feltham and Heston, has hosted a celebration of the Feast of St Francis Xavier in the House of Commons on December 4th with local resident Pamila Rodrigues. This is thought to be the first time the Feast of St Francis Xavier has been celebrated in the UK Parliament, and saw over 70 guests attending.
St Francis Xavier, a sixteenth-century Spanish missionary, is the patron saint of Goa in India, and his feast celebrated around the world on December 3rd is one of the most significant dates in the Goan Catholic calendar.
The event included a religious service from Father Feroz Fernandes SFX, the Parish Priest at Osterley, along with cultural performances. It was attended by the Minister for Coordination Deepak Choudhary from the Indian High Commission as well as representatives of the Goan community from Hounslow and across the country.
The gathering was an opportunity to celebrate and share in Parliament Goan culture and the contribution of the Goan community to the United Kingdom’s economy and society. A small Choir was led by Inacio Palmeira, Ziniada Palmeira, Michaela Palmeira, and Teodoro Colaco and a cultural song sung by Asta Freya Dias.
Seema Malhotra MP said:
“I was so pleased to be able to work with the local Goan community to host and celebrate in Parliament for the first time the feast of St Francis Xavier. I grew up in Hounslow, attending Heston Primary School and and the Green School. I have always been proud of and celebrated our diversity through which we build strong links with our heritage and share our lives and stories with our wider community.”
“I have seen and supported Hounslow Goan events in recent years and have seen the community grow, making such an important contribution to our local area. I hope in the future to see the event grow and see many more taking part locally and in Parliament.”
Pamila Fernandes said:
“It was a privilege for all our Goans community members present at the House of Commons to celebrate our Patron St Francis Xavier. I look forward to working with Seema Malhotra as the MP Feltham and Heston and building a strong bond between the community and Parliament.”
Father Feroz Fernandes SFX said:
“Celebrating the feast of St. Francis Xavier at the House of Commons is a recognition of the excellent work Goans are doing in the UK. For Goans everywhere, the saint remains a unifying factor in working for the upliftment of ordinary people through social initiatives and public policy. Looking around the Hounslow area and beyond, Goans excel with a community spirit, working towards common values in the public arena.”