Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Catholic News World : Wednesday December 3, 2014 - Share!

Pope Francis among pilgrims at the general audience - AFP
03/12/2014 11:

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis had words of praise and thanks for Turkey and the Salesian fathers of Istanbul, for all the good and “hidden” work they do for countless refugees from the Iraqi and Syrian wars.
Retracing the steps of his recent pilgrimage to Turkey during his general audience Wednesday, the Pope also highlighted the constant need for prayer on the journey towards full communion with the Orthodox Church and reiterated the importance of Christians and Muslims working together in solidarity for peace.
Rain pounded umbrellas in St. Peter’s Square Wednesday, forcing the audience to be split in two – as the Pope himself noted greeting the ‘brave’ pilgrims before him.  Before heading out among the thousands in the Square the Pope had first greeted the sick and disabled who were gathered in the Paul VI audience hall, urging them to pray to Jesus this Advent season for the strength to carry on and blessing them before he left.
After touring through the square – despite the driving rain – the Pope also invited pilgrims to greet  the sick and disabled who were following the catechesis through giant screens with applause. Then he began to speak of his three day trip to Turkey over the weekend, highlighting the ecumenical and interfaith elements of his visit.
Below please find a Vatican Radio transcript and translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning. It’s not a great day is it? The weather is quite bad…but you are brave and face it anyway!  On we go! This audience is taking place in two different places, as we do when it rains: here in the square and then there are the sick in the Paul VI Hall. I met with them already, I greeted them, and they are following the audience on giant screens, because they are sick and cannot be out in the rain. Let’s greet them there with a round of applause, everyone!
Today I would like to share some things with you from my pilgrimage to Turkey from Friday to Sunday last. Today we retrace the steps of the pilgrimage I made to Turkey from Friday to Sunday last. Just as I asked you to prepare for and accompany me on that journey with prayer, today I ask you to give thanks to the Lord for its success and that it may bear fruits of dialogue in our relations with our Orthodox and Muslims brethren, as well as on the path to peace between peoples.
Firstly, I feel I must renew my gratitude to the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the President for Religious Affairs and other Authorities, who welcomed me with respect and guaranteed the good order of events. I fraternally thank the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Turkey, for their commitment, as well as the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew I, for the warm welcome I received. Blessed Paul VI and John Paul II, who both went to Turkey, and John XXIII, who was Papal Delegate in that nation, protected my pilgrimage from heaven, which took place eight years after that of my predecessor Benedict XVI. That land is dear to every Christian, especially as the birthplace of the Apostle Paul, for having hosted the first seven councils, and for the presence, near Ephesus, of the "House of Virgin Mary".  Tradition tells us that the Virgin lived there, after the coming of the Holy Spirit.
On the first day of the Apostolic Trip I paid homage at the Mausoleum of Atatürk and I met the authorities of the country, which is overwhelmingly Muslim, but whose constitution establishes it as a  secular state. It is forgetfulness of God, and not His glorification, that generates violence. This is why I insisted on the importance of Christians and Muslims working together for solidarity, peace and justice, stating that each State must assure citizens and religious communities real freedom of worship.
Today, before going to greet the sick I was with a group of Christians and Muslims who were at a meeting organized by the Council for Interreligious Dialogue, under the leadership of Cardinal Tauran, and they too have expressed this desire to continue in this fraternal dialogue between Catholics, Christians and Muslims.
On the second day I visited places that are symbolic of the different faiths in Turkey. I did so, feeling in my heart an invocation to the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, the merciful Father of all humanity. The Eucharistic Celebration was the central focus of that day, which brought together in the Cathedral pastors and faithful of the various Catholic rites in Turkey. The Ecumenical Patriarch, the Armenian Patriarchal Apostolic Vicar, the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan and representatives Protestant communities also attended. Together we invoked the Holy Spirit, He who generates unity in the Church: unity in faith, unity in charity, unity in inner cohesion. The People of God, in the richness of its traditions and articulations, is called to be guided by the Holy Spirit, in a constant attitude of openness, docility and obedience. Our journey of ecumenical dialogue is also the journey of our unity, of our Catholic Church, it is the Holy Spirit who does all the work. It’s up to us to let him do it, to welcome him and be inspired by him.
The third and final day, the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle, offered the ideal context to consolidate fraternal relations between the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, which according to tradition is the Church founded by the Apostle Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. Together with His Holiness Bartholomew I, I renewed the mutual commitment to continue on the path towards the restoration of full communion between Catholics and Orthodox. Together we signed a Joint Declaration, a further stage on this journey. It was particularly significant that this act took place at the end of the solemn liturgy of the Feast of St. Andrew, which I attended with great joy, and which was followed by a double Blessing imparted by the Patriarch of Constantinople and by the Bishop of Rome. Indeed, prayer is the basis for any fruitful ecumenical dialogue under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who as I said, is the one who creates unity.
My last meeting – which was both beautiful and painful - was with a group of young refugees, guests of the Salesians. It was very important for me to meet some refugees from the war zones of the Middle East, both to express to them my closeness and that of the Church, and to emphasize the value of welcoming [refugees], an area in which Turkey has also shown a great commitment. I want to thank Turkey once again for its welcoming so many refugees and sincerely thank the Salesians of Istanbul. But, these Salesian who work with refugees, they are so good! I also met other priests and a German Jesuit and others who work with refugees but that Salesian oratory of refugees is a beautiful thing, it is a hidden work. Thank you so much to all of those people who work with refugees. Let us pray for all the refugees and IDPs, and that the causes of this painful scourge be overcome.
Dear brothers and sisters, may Almighty and Merciful God continue to protect the Turkish people, their leaders and the representatives of different religions. May they build together a future of peace, so that Turkey can be a place of peaceful coexistence between different religions and cultures. We also pray that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit will make this Apostolic Journey fruitful and favor missionary fervor in the Church, to announce to all peoples, in respect and fraternal dialogue, that the Lord Jesus is truth, peace and love. He alone is the Lord. Thank You.(Emer McCarthy)

Latest from News from Vatican Information Service - Investigation of Msgr. Wesolowski

03-12-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 215 

- General audience: Francis' trip to Turkey
- Declaration by the Director of the Holy See Press Office
- Other Pontifical Acts
General audience: Francis' trip to Turkey
Vatican City, 3 December 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience to his recent visit to Turkey, a land dear to many Christians for being the birthplace of the apostle Paul, hosting the first seven councils, and for the presence, near Ephesus, of the “House of Mary”. In the same way as he asked the faithful, before his journey, to accompany him in prayer, today he asked them to give thanks to the Lord for the success of the trip and to pray that it might bear the fruit of dialogue in our relationship with our Orthodox and Muslim brothers, and in the path towards peace among peoples.
Francis spoke first of his meeting with the authorities on Friday 29, thanking them for the care and respect with which they greeted him. In a constitutionally secular country with a Muslim majority, the Pope noted that it is oblivion to God and not His glorification that engenders violence, and insisted before the leaders of the nation on the importance of concerted efforts between Christians and Muslims for solidarity, peace and justice, reaffirming the need for States to guarantee real freedom of worship to citizens and religious communities.
On the second day, the Pope visited the Museum of Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, highly symbolic places for the different religions that co-exist in Turkey. “I did so, feeling within my heart the wish to invoke the Lord, God of Heaven and Earth, merciful Father of all humanity”. The central event of the day was the Mass held in the Cathedral, attended by pastors and faithful of the various Catholic rites in Turkey, along with representatives of other confessions, to invoke together the Holy Spirit, “who builds the unity of the Church: unity in faith, unity in charity, unity in internal cohesion”, so that the People of God, “in the richness of their traditions”, may grow in openness and obedience to His divine action”.
The feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, patron of the Church of Constantinople, on 30 November, offered the ideal context for consolidating the fraternal relations between the Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, who renewed their joint commitment to the path of re-establishing full communion between Catholics and Orthodox, and signed a Joint Declaration which represents a significant step along the way. Francis expressed his joy at having participated in the Divine Liturgy and for the dual blessing imparted by the Pope and the Patriarch at the end. “Prayer is the foundation of any fruitful ecumenical dialogue under the guidance of the Holy Spirit”.
The Holy Father's final meeting, of which he spoke with emotion, was with a group of young refugees from the war zones of the Middle East, under the care of the Salesians. “It was very important for me to meet them”, he said, “both to express my closeness and that of the Church, and to highlight the importance of hospitality; a value to which Turkey is committed”. The Pope again thanked the country for its work in this field, praised the Salesians for their work with the young refugees, and concluded by again asking all those present to pray for refugees and internally displaced people, and for the removal of the causes of this “painful scourge”.
Declaration by the Director of the Holy See Press Office
Vatican City, 3 December 2014 (VIS) – The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., answered questions posed by journalists late yesterday afternoon on the situation regarding the ex-nuncio Msgr. Wesolowski.
“This morning, the Promoter of Justice of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, Professor Gian Piero Milano, met with the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic, Francisco Dominguez Brito, upon request by this latter, during a trip in Europe to make contacts in Poland and the Vatican. The meeting took place within a broader context of international level cooperation amongst the investigative bodies engaged in the proceedings against Msgr. Wesolowski and the related investigations in progress, and it was useful for both parties given the complexity of the enquiry and the possibility of a letter rogatory from the Vatican to request further elements.
Meanwhile, regarding the situation of Msgr. Wesolowski, I am able to state that the Magistrature of Vatican City State, continuing its investigations, has already questioned the defendant, and future rounds of questioning will take place. As the custody time limit has lapsed, and in view of his state of health, Msgr. Wesolowski has been permitted a certain freedom of movement, but is obliged to remain within the State and is subject to appropriate restrictions on external communications”.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 3 December 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Rev. Ivan Pereira as bishop of Jammu-Srinagar (area 222,236, population 13,849,892, Catholics 18,161, priests 61, religious 214), India. The bishop-elect was born in Vasai, India in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1993. He holds a B.A. in education and a Master's degree in English, and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including parish vicar in Jammu; parish priest in various parishes, including the Cathedral and “Our Lady of Fatima”, Srinagar; rector of St. Paul's minor seminary, Akalpur, Jammu; secretary of the Regional Catholic Council of North India; and president of the Regional Conference of Diocesan Priests, North India. He is currently director of the Diocesan Education Board of the diocese of Jammu-Srinagar and principal of the Burn Hall Higher Secondary School, Srinagar. He succeeds Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.
- appointed Bishop Odelir Jose Magri, M.C.C.J., of Sobral, Brazil, as bishop of Chapeco (area 15,663, population 772,000, Catholics 635,000, priests 85, religious 223), Brazil.
- appointed Bishop Zanoni Demettino Castro of Sao Mateus as coadjutor archbishop of Feira de Santana (area 6,730, population 963,000, Catholics 895,000, priests 73, permanent deacons 9, religious 157), Brazil.
- appointed Bishop Waldemar Passini Dalbello, auxiliary of Goiania, Brazil, as coadjutor bishop of Luziania (area 16,424, population 776,000, Catholics 624,000, priests 55, permanent deacons 4, religious 100), Brazil.

Today's Mass Readings : Wednesday December 3, 2014

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Lectionary: 177

Reading 1IS 25:6-10A

On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.

On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

Responsorial Psalm PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (6cd) I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 15:29-37

At that time:
Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee,
went up on the mountain, and sat down there.
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others.
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.
The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking,
the deformed made whole,
the lame walking,
and the blind able to see,
and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way.”
The disciples said to him,
“Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?”
Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

Pope Francis "We ask the Lord, in this Advent season, to bring us nearer to his mystery..." Homily

Pope at Mass at Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
02/12/2014 01:14

(Vatican Radio) Those who study the mystery of God are brought to their knees because God reveals more to a humble heart. Those were the Pope’s words during his Homily at Mass Tuesday morning at the Casa Santa Martha.The eyes of the poor, said Pope Francis, are most likely to see Christ and, through him, to see the face of God. Others who claim to fathom this mystery with the resources of intelligence must first get down on their "knees", in an act of humility , otherwise "they will not understand anything."
During his Homily the Pope focused on the Gospel of St Luke from the morning’s liturgy, reflecting on Christ’s relationship to the Father, both praising and thanking him.
"He makes us know the Father, introduces us to this inner life that He has. And tp whom does the Father reveal this? To whom does he give this grace? 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little ones'. Only those whose hearts are like the young are capable of receiving this revelation, the humble of heart, the meek, who feel the need to pray, to open up to God, who feel poor; only he who goes forward with the first Beatitude: the poor in spirit. "
 Therefore, poverty is a privileged gift that opens the door to the mystery of God. A gift that sometimes, noted Pope Francis, that may be lacking in those dedicated to a life of study.
"Many may know the science, theology well, so many! But if they do not practice this theology on their knees, humbly, like children, they will not understand anything. It will tell them many things, but they will not understand anything. Only with this poverty is one capable of receiving the revelation that the Father gives through Jesus, through Jesus. Jesus is, not like a captain, an army general, a powerful ruler, no, no. He is like a bud. Just like we heard in the First Reading: 'On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse'. He is a bud that is humble, mild, and came to the humble, and to the meek, to bring salvation to the sick, the poor, the oppressed.”
 Pope Francis continued by saying that the mystery Jesus is that of humbling oneself. It is a mystery that  "brings salvation to the poor, brings comfort to those who are stricken by many diseases, sins and difficult situations." "Out of this context”, concluded Pope Francis you cannot understand the mystery of Jesus":
"We ask the Lord, in this Advent season, to bring us nearer to his mystery and to do so the way that He wants us to do: the way of humility, the way of meekness, the way of poverty, the road where we feel sin. So that he can come to save us, to free us. May the Lord give us this grace. "

Pope Francis joins Faith Leaders against Slavery - Full Text

Pope Francis joins religious leaders from around the world in the Vatican to sign a joint declaration against modern slavery - REUTERS
02/12/2014 03:10

(Vatican Radio) An unprecedented gathering of religious leaders from all corners of the globe took place in the Vatican on Tuesday for the signing of a joint declaration against modern slavery. Pope Francis joined Anglican, Orthodox, Jewish, Shia and Sunni Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist representatives in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, together with two young trafficking victims from Mexico and Ghana. No-one knows the exact number of men and women, boys and girls who are trafficked into prostitution, forced labour or the trade in human body parts. Some estimates put the figure as high as 35 million, but as one participant pointed out, it’s not the numbers that matter as much as the fact that every single one of those people could be your brother or sister, my son or daughter.
When the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby first met Pope Francis in 2013, they identified the scourge of human trafficking as one of the most urgent priorities for both of their Churches today. Less than a year later, the ecumenical Global Freedom Network was set up to try and harness the commitment of believers around the world for practical action to eradicate this modern slavery by the year 2020.
This gathering of religious leaders in the Vatican today represents around 90 percent of the world’s population and the declaration they signed commits their communities to working together for the freedom of all people and an end to this lucrative trade in human life. In his words to the group, Pope Francis called it an absurd evil and a crime against humanity….
This crime, the Pope said, is often hidden behind closed doors, on the streets, in the factories, fields or fishing boats where people are forced to work in dirty, dangerous and degrading conditions…..
It is the poor and most vulnerable, he said, who are usually the victims of this crime and it’s a problem which is growing day by day. That’s why these leaders of all different faith communities came to the Vatican on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, to commit their spiritual and practical support to this cause. As the declaration says, we already have the awareness, wisdom and technology to stamp out this crime. This extraordinary gathering of so many faith leaders here today marks a significant step towards achieving that goal.
Please see below the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery
 “We, the undersigned, are gathered here today for a historic initiative to inspire spiritual and practical action by all global faiths and people of good will everywhere to eradicate modern slavery across the world by 2020 and for all time.
In the eyes of God*, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity. Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, organ trafficking, and any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity, is a crime against humanity.
We pledge ourselves here today to do all in our power, within our faith communities and beyond, to work together for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored. Today we have the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology to achieve this human and moral imperative.”

Saint December 3 : St. Francis Xavier Patron of Missionaries; Precious Blood; Navigators; missions; plague

St. Francis Xavier
Feast: December 3

Feast Day:December 3
Born:April 7, 1506, Javier, Navarre
Died:December 3, 1552, China
Canonized:March 12, 1622 by Gregory XV
Patron of:African missions; Apostleship of Prayer; Australia; Bombay, India; China; East Indies; Fathers of the Precious Blood; foreign missions; Goa India; India; Tokyo, Japan; missionaries; Missioners of the Precious Blood; navigators; parish missions; plague epidemics; Propagation of the Faith

Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, 7 April, 1506; died on the Island of Sancian near the coast of China, 2 December, 1552. In 1525, having completed a preliminary course of studies in his own country, Francis Xavier went to Paris, where he entered the college de Sainte-Barbe. Here he met the Savoyard, Pierre Favre, and a warm personal friendship sprang up between them. It was at this same college that St. Ignatius Loyola, who was already planning the foundation of the Society of Jesus, resided for a time as a guest in 1529. He soon won the confidence of the two young men; first Favre and later Xavier offered themselves with him in the formation of the Society. Four others, Lainez, Salmeron, Rodriguez, and Bobadilla, having joined them, the seven made the famous vow of Montmartre, 15 Aug., 1534.
After completing his studies in Paris and filling the post of teacher there for some time, Xavier left the city with his companions 15 November, 1536, and turned his steps to Venice, where he displayed zeal and charity in attending the sick in the hospitals. On 24 June, 1537, he received Holy orders with St. Ignatius. The following year he went to Rome, and after doing apostolic work there for some months, during the spring of 1539 he took part in the conferences which St. Ignatius held with his companions to prepare for the definitive foundation of the Society of Jesus. The order was approved verbally 3 September, and before the written approbation was secured, which was not until a year later, Xavier was appointed , at the earnest solicitation of the John III, King of Portugal, to evangelize the people of the East Indies. He left Rome 16 March, 1540, and reached Lisbon about June. Here he remained nine months, giving many admirable examples of apostolic zeal.
On 7 April, 1541, he embarked in a sailing vessel for India, and after a tedious and dangerous voyage landed at Goa, 6 May, 1542. The first five months he spent in preaching and ministering to the sick in the hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a number, he would take them to a certain church and would there explain the catechism to them. About October, 1542, he started for the pearl fisheries of the extreme southern coast of the peninsula, desirous of restoring Christianity which, although introduced years before, had almost disappeared on account of the lack of priests. He devoted almost three years to the work of preaching to the people of Western India, converting many, and reaching in his journeys even the Island of Ceylon. Many were the difficulties and hardships which Xavier had to encounter at this time, sometimes on account of the cruel persecutions which some of the petty kings of the country carried on against the neophytes, and again because the Portuguese soldiers, far from seconding the work of the saint, retarded it by their bad example and vicious habits.
In the spring of 1545 Xavier started for Malacca. He laboured there for the last months of that year, and although he reaped an abundant spiritual harvest, he was not able to root out certain abuses, and was conscious that many sinners had resisted his efforts to bring them back to God. About January, 1546, Xavier left Malacca and went to Molucca Islands, where the Portuguese had some settlements, and for a year and a half he preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of Amboyna, Ternate, Baranura, and other lesser islands which it has been difficult to identify. It is claimed by some that during this expedition he landed on the island of Mindanao, and for this reason St. Francis Xavier has been called the first Apostle of the Philippines. But although this statement is made by some writers of the seventeenth century, and in the Bull of canonization issued in 1623, it is said that he preached the Gospel in Mindanao, up to the present time it has not been proved absolutely that St. Francis Xavier ever landed in the Philippines.
By July, 1547, he was again in Malacca. Here he met a Japanese called Anger (Han-Sir), from whom he obtained much information about Japan. His zeal was at once aroused by the idea of introducing Christanity into Japan, but for the time being the affairs of the Society demanded his presence at Goa, whither he went, taking Anger with him. During the six years that Xavier had been working among the infidels, other Jesuit missionaries had arrived at Goa, sent from Europe by St. Ignatius; moreover some who had been born in the country had been received into the Society. In 1548 Xavier sent these missionaries to the principal centres of India, where he had established missions, so that the work might be preserved and continued. He also established a novitiate and house of studies, and having received into the Society Father Cosme de Torres, a Spanish priest whom he had met in the Maluccas, he started with him and Brother Juan Fernandez for Japan towards the end of June, 1549. The Japanese Anger, who had been baptized at Goa and given the name of Pablo de Santa Fe, accompanied them.
They landed at the city of Kagoshima in Japan, 15 Aug., 1549. The entire first year was devoted to learning the Japanese language and translating into Japanese, with the help of Pablo de Santa Fe, the principal articles of faith and short treatises which were to be employed in preaching and catechizing. When he was able to express himself, Xavier began preaching and made some converts, but these aroused the ill will of the bonzes, who had him banished from the city. Leaving Kagoshima about August, 1550, he penetrated to the centre of Japan, and preached the Gospel in some of the cities of southern Japan. Towards the end of that year he reached Meaco, then the principal city of Japan, but he was unable to make any headway here because of the dissensions the rending the country. He retraced his steps to the centre of Japan, and during 1551 preached in some important cities, forming the nucleus of several Christian communities, which in time increased with extraordinary rapidity.
After working about two years and a half in Japan he left this mission in charge of Father Cosme de Torres and Brother Juan Fernandez, and returned to Goa, arriving there at the beginning of 1552. Here domestic troubles awaited him. Certain disagreements between the superior who had been left in charge of the missions, and the rector of the college, had to be adjusted. This, however, being arranged, Xavier turned his thoughts to China, and began to plan an expedition there. During his stay in Japan he had heard much of the Celestial Empire, and though he probably had not formed a proper estimate of his extent and greatness, he nevertheless understood how wide a field it afforded for the spread of the light of the Gospel. With the help of friends he arranged a commission or embassy the Sovereign of China, obtained from the Viceroy of India the appointment of ambassador, and in April, 1552, he left Goa. At Malacca the party encountered difficulties because the influential Portuguese disapproved of the expedition, but Xavier knew how to overcome this opposition, and in the autumn he arrived in a Portuguese vessel at the small island of Sancian near the coast of China. While planning the best means for reaching the mainland, he was taken ill, and as the movement of the vessel seemed to aggravate his condition, he was removed to the land, where a rude hut had been built to shelter him. In these wretched surroundings he breathed his last.
It is truly a matter of wonder that one man in the short space of ten years (6 May, 1542-2 December, 1552) could have visited so many countries, traversed so many seas, preached the Gospel to so many nations, and converted so many infidels. The incomparable apostolic zeal which animated him, and the stupendous miracles which God wrought through him, explain this marvel, which has no equal elsewhere. The list of the principal miracles may be found in the Bull of canonization. St. Francis Xavier is considered the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, and the zeal he displayed, the wonderful miracles he performed, and the great number of souls he brought to the light of true Faith, entitle him to this distinction. He was canonized with St. Ignatius in 1622, although on account of the death of Gregory XV, the Bull of canonization was not published until the following year.
The body of the saint is still enshrined at Goa in the church which formerly belonged to the Society. In 1614 by order of Claudius Acquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus, the right arm was severed at the elbow and conveyed to Rome, where the present altar was erected to receive it in the church of the Gesu.

Post a Comment