by Patricia Mathson
Celebrating Saint Francis Xavier
Loved the Missions
Feast Day: December 3
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Francis Xavier was born in 1506. As a young boy he lived with his family in a castle in Spain. He did well in school and enjoyed sports. As an adult, Francis shared the gospel with people in far away lands such as India and Japan. His life turned out very different from how he thought it would.
His Life Changed
When Francis was 19 years old, he went to study in Paris and become a university professor. But his life changed when he met Ignatius Loyola, who talked to him about serving God and others. Francis became one of the first members of a new order—the Jesuits—founded by Ignatius in 1534. Three years later he was ordained a Catholic priest.
Proclaimed the Gospel
Some members of the new order were to go to India, but one became ill before the trip. Francis went in his place. Due to storms and repairs to the ship, the journey took over a year. Then, at last, they arrived in India. Francis shared the gospel and baptized people. He helped the poor and the sick
Went on to Japan
Francis later went to Japan and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with the Japanese people. He wanted to go to China, but couldn’t get farther than an island offshore, where he became sick and died in 1552. Saint Francis Xavier served God with all his heart.
What Can We Do?
* Let’s talk about St. Francis Xavier and how we can be like him. Why did he go to Paris? Who did he meet there? Where else did he go? How are we called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ? How can we make everyone feel welcome in our Church? How do our lives show others who Jesus is?
* Let’s pray the world mission Rosary. Each decade of the Rosary is prayed for a different area of the world where missionaries serve (see hcakids.org for information).
* Let’s collect money for the missions during Advent by bringing in change and putting it in a collection box. At the end of Advent, we can send the money to a missionary organization to help it proclaim the gospel to others.
Patricia Mathson has many years of experience in faith formation as a DRE and holds a MRE degree from the University of Dallas. She is the children’s ministry coordinator at Hope Family Center in Des Moines, IA. She is the author of many books including Plant the Seed: Sharing the Gospel with Children (Liguori Publications).
Lord Jesus, help us to follow the example of St. Frances Xavier in sharing the gospel with other people. Send the Holy Spirit to guide our hearts and our lives, so that we may follow you in all that we do. Amen.
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This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, October 2012.
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