Pope, at general audience, pays tribute to St. Francis Xavier
May 17, 2023
Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on the theme of “the passion for evangelization: the apostolic zeal of the believer,” Pope Francis devoted his May 17 general audience to St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552).
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“In our continuing catechesis on apostolic zeal, we now turn to St. Francis Xavier, the patron of the Catholic missions,” Pope Francis said, in the words of the Vatican summary of his remarks. “Born in Spain, Francis studied in Paris, where he met Saint Ignatius of Loyola and, together with a few companions, formed the Society of Jesus, placing themselves at the service of the Pope for the most urgent needs of the Church of their time.”
The summary continued:
The sixteenth century, the age of discovery, called for a great missionary outreach. Francis set out for the East Indies, where, starting in Goa, he carried out an intense activity of preaching, baptizing, catechizing and caring for the sick. From India, he passed to the Maluku islands and from there to Japan. Unable to fulfil his dream of entering China, Francis died, at only 46 years of age, on the nearby island of Shangchuan.
His heroic zeal for evangelization was the fruit of a life of deep prayer and loving union with the person of Jesus Christ. May the example of St. Francis Xavier inspire our own efforts to advance the Church’s mission, as joyful witnesses to the risen Lord and his saving word.
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