The chances of the first Jesuit pontiff arriving in the beach tourism oriented state are "healthy", according to Fr. Savio Barretto, rector of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, one of the oldest churches of Goa, where are kept the remains of the Spanish saint who evangelised people in parts of India and Asia.
"We have received many enquiries to call His Holiness. We will be calling him too and request the central government to formally make a request to Vatican city also," Barretto said on Tuesday.
St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest who hailed from Navarra in the Basque region of Spain, heralded Christianity in Goa in the early 1500s and was incidentally also responsible for initiating the process of the brutal inquisition in Goa, which saw tenets of the Christian religion imposed by force and violence on Goan subjects.
After his death in 1552 in Shangchuan, China, his body was first ferried to Malacca, which is a city now in Malaysia, and later stored in 1553 in the grand Basilica of Bom Jesus.
Believers regard it as a miracle that the body has survived for nearly 500 years, while sceptics have historically argued that the mortal remains of the saint have been embalmed to ensure its survival.
Every year, more than a million believers throng the Church complex in Old Goa, located a short distance from here.
Once in a decade, the Church arranges for the devotees to see the saint's remains in a glass-topped silver casket. The event, which is known as the exposition, is due in November 2014.
"The chances of Pope Francis coming for the exposition look good because he may not even need an invitation to visit the resting place of his fellow Jesuit brother," Barretto said.
Catholics account for nearly 25 percent of the state's population of 1.4 million.