St. Francis Xavier holds a special place in the story of the Catholic Church in Australia. For many years he was our co-patron with St. Therese of the Child Jesus. This is why so many churches and schools are named after him.
Born in 1506, St. Francis Xavier became the co-founder of the Jesuits. He was fired by a missionary passion to spread the word of God to those most in need. He travelled throughout the Asian region, reaching out to the poor, the imprisoned, the sick and the dying.
Fr. Frank Brennan sj recently reminded the people of Canberra that in gathering to 'contemplate and reverence' the relic of St. Francis Xavier, we remember that 'with this arm (Francis) always pointed towards Christ, and always embraced all before him, especially the poorest of the poor.'
Today St. Francis Xavier challenges us to consider what frontiers and divides we are called to cross; what 'distances' we are called to travel? Who are the poorest of the poor in our society? Are our words and actions pointing towards Christ and revealing the love of God to those most in need? Today his love and respect for people of different cultures is an inspiration to us.
Relics remind us that Christ works through human beings; that it is through the choices and actions of our lives that the love and compassion of God is made present in our world.
You are invited to take up the opportunity this pilgrimage presents to 'start afresh from Christ'.
The Pilgrimage of Grace visits our diocese from November 23 - 24th.
On Friday November 23 the relic will arrive at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton at 11.30am. On Saturday November 24 it will depart Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton at 9.00am and arrive at St. Francis Xavier Church, Abermain at 11.00am. It will depart Abermain at 3.00pm and arrive at St.
Francis Xavier Church Belmont at 4.30pm. It will depart Belmont at 10.00pm.
A detailed program for each venue will be available at the beginning of November.
For further information about the Pilgrimage and St. Francis Xavier visit: http://www.sydneycatholic.org/events/pilgrimageofgrace/
To add a petition to the Pilgrimage of Grace Prayer Wall visit http://www.xt3.com/pilgrimageofgrace/
Louise Gannon rsj
Diocesan coordinator of the Year of Grace