Guido lived in Italy with his mom and dad and nine brothers and sisters. As a child he read a book about St. Francis Xavier and wanted to be a missionary like him. He started the habit of stopping by the church to pray before the cross on his way to school. He felt that God was calling him to become a priest.
Made a decision
When Guido grew up, his dad wanted him to run the family farm, but Guido had another idea. He wanted to go to the seminary to become a priest. At first, his father wasn’t happy, but with his mother’s support, Guido entered the seminary. Then he became sick and couldn’t be ordained with his class. He was very disappointed. Guido eventually finished his coursework and became a priest.
Wanted to share the Good News
Guido wanted to be a missionary and bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of China, but he wasn’t healthy enough. Instead he helped to train people to go in his place. In 1895 he started the Xaverian Missionaries, named after St. Francis Xavier. Sometimes when life doesn’t work out the way we plan, we must find another way.
Lived a life of service
Guido was the bishop of Parma, Italy, for 25 years. He lived a life of service and prayer. His motto was “Christ in all things.” That is a great motto for us to adopt, too. Guido Conforti was canonized in 2011 on World Mission Sunday. Today the Xaverian Missionaries work in 21 countries — all because of one person’s vision and a lot of prayer.
What we can do
■ Talk about this saint. What did Guido do on his way to school? What did Guido want to be? What happened at the seminary? Why couldn’t he go to China himself? What did he do instead? What was his motto? Where do his followers serve today?
■ Look at a world map. Remind children that Jesus Christ came for everyone. Point out some countries where the Xavierian Missionaries share the Good News, such as China, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Italy, and the United States.
■ Learn about St. Francis Xavier, whose life inspired St. Guido Conforti. St. Francis Xavier was a missionary to India and Japan. He would ring a bell to gather the children and then tell them about Jesus. He helped to start the order known as the Jesuits. His feast day is December 3.
God of all people, thank you for the example of St. Guido Conforti, who wanted others to know the Good News of Jesus Christ. Help us to remember that Jesus came for all people. May we trust in you even when things don’t go as we planned. We pray for the world’s missionaries and the people they serve. Send the Holy Spirit to help us share the Gospel with others. Amen.
4 St. Charles Borromeo
11 St. Martin of Tours
13 St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
18 St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
30 St. Andrew
3 St. Francis Xavier
6 St. Nicholas
13 St. Lucy
14 St. John of the Cross
21 St. Peter Canisius
PATRICIA MATHSON, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She has authored many books, including her latest: 33 Mass Lessons and Activities for Children from Twenty-Third Publications.
PHOTO: PUBLIC DOMAIN
This article was originally published in Catechist, November-December 2019.