Monday, December 3, 2012

Frances Xavier, Missionary, 3 December 2012

Francis Xavier (7 April 1506-3 December 1552) was a Basque born in the Kingdom of Navarre.  After his education, in Paris, he was greatly influenced by Ignatius of Loyola, and was one of the cofounders of the Society of Jesus, being one of the first seven members of the order. 

Francis was ordained in 1537 and served a short stint in a hospital and as St. Innatius’s secretary before leaving for India.  He was instated by King Johns III as papal nuncio and sent to Goa, primarily to restore the faith of the Portuguese in Goa  (which was the capitol of  Portuguese India. )  Francis spent more time with the natives of India, having built some forty churches by 1544.  He also planned to visit Indonesia.  It is said, when he had troubles witnessing to the Hindus, that he would teach the children to pray for the sick.  When the sick got well after the children’s prayers, the adults came to see what was going on.   Originally he worked with the poor, but changed this tactic later, hoping to have more influence.  He began work in Portuguese Molucca (Indonesia today) in about 1546, resulting in some ten thousand Catholics in the area by the 1560s.  He also had a habit of setting Bible verses to short catchy tunes in native languages, which helped the word to be spread.

July 1549 saw him in Japan, where at first he had trouble being admitted to any ports.  He finally was admitted and had moderate success, partly for the sake of the language, and the lack of Japanese speaking clergy.  The Japanese were able to establish indigenous churches which lasted some time, considering that they had been cut off from the main church. 

In 1552 he reached the islands of Chin.  He was seeking passage to the mainland, when he died of fever on 3 December 1552.  He should go down with William Carrey and Count Zinzendorf as one of the great missionaries, spreading the news of salvation. 

El Shadai:  You raised up Francis Xavier to proclaim the Gospel in diverse lands of Asia.  Raise up in this and every generation men and women who are ready to proclaim the Gospel to all the world, no matter what the cost.  This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reins with you and the Rucah haKodesh, on God in Shekina glory everlasting.    Amen.

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