Recapture spirit of St. Francis Xavier, cardinal says
Dec 06, 2006
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (Catholic Online, 12/5/2006) – Catholics must relive and recapture the spirit of St. Francis Xavier, said the Indian bishops' conference president.
In a homily delivered during a Dec. 2 Mass on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the birth of the saint in Notre Dame Cathedral here, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi thanked God for the gift of St. Francis Xavier who brought the light of the gospel to Asia. The cardinal’s remarks were released on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India Web site.
Giving a brief insight into the life history of St. Xavier, Cardinal Toppo noted that the saint arrived in Goa, India, in May 1542.
“St. Francis Xavier spent three years in India spreading Christianity and embracing Catholics in Goa and South India,” Cardinal Toppo said. “Later on from Goa, the saint embarked on his missionary journey to reach out to the whole of Asia.”
Among those present at the celebration were Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and Cardinal Gaudencio Borbon Rosales of Manila, Philippines.
Recalling the saint’s remarkable missionary journeys, cardinal said, “we as Christians see in these extraordinary events God’s plan and God’s providence at work.”
“St. Francis Xavier was a man whose heart was on fire with the love of God and he literally followed the command of the risen Lord: Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all nations,” declared the cardinal.
“He preached in the face of opposition, but following in the footsteps of Jesus, his preaching was not a conquest. He, too, like Jesus Christ, spoke the language of the farmer, who is patient and in harmony with the soil, preparing it and then waiting for the harvest,” said Cardinal Toppo.
Expressing awe at the saint’s commitment towards his mission, cardinal said, “St. Francis gave himself body and soul to the ministry of the poor and oppressed and overcame all hardships during his journeys.”
Highlighting the saint’s dedication, Cardinal Toppo said, “Francis belonged entirely to the people, from morning till evening he was at their service and he made present to others the love of God.”
“The secret of St. Francis Xavier’s life is that he lived in deep union with God and even in the midst of his apostolic activities he prayed without ceasing,” added Cardinal Toppo.
“The life of St. Francis Xavier tells us that we cannot announce the good news without a personal experience of Jesus and so God invites us to walk in the footsteps of the saint and to spread the Good news as he did,” he said.