Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Francis Xavier

St Francis XavierSt. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) Image Courtesy: –Catholic Online

(Franciscan Media) Born in Northern Spain, Basque Province and given the birth name Francisco (Francis) de Jasso y Azpilicueta, Francis studied and taught Philosophy at the University of Paris according to SQPN and planned a career as a Professor. Francis’ friend St. Ignatius of Loyola (Feast Day: 31 July) after converting Francis to Christianity, he would convince him to use his natural abilities to spread the Gospel.

In 1534 Francis would join St. Ignatius of Loyola newly formed group ‘The Company of Jesus’ today known as the ‘Society of Jesus’ (Jesuits) which received Papal approval in 1540 Together at Montmarte, they took vows of poverty, chastity and apostolic service according to the direction of Pope Paul III (1534-1549)

From Venice, where Francis was Ordained a Priest in 1537 Fr. Francis Xavier, went on to Lisbon and from there, set sail to the East Indies landing in India Gao — While in Gao awaiting on a ship according to SQPN Fr. Francis Xavier witnessed for Christ on the streets, cared for the sick and taught children their Catechism, it is said that he walked through the streets ringing a bell to call the children to their studies. During Fr. Francis Xavier stay in Gao, its reported that he was able to convert the entire city to Christianity. For the next 10 yrs he labored to bring Christianity to such widely scattered people as the Hindu’s, the Malayans and Japanese. Fr. Francis Xavier would however spend much of that time in  India and served as Provincial of the newly established ‘Jesuit’ province of India.

Wherever Fr. Francis Xavier went, he lived with the poorest people, sharing their food and tough accommodations. Fr. Francis Xavier would spend countless hours caring and ministering to the needs of the sick and poor but especially to those with Leprosy. Very often he had no time to sleep or even to say his breviary but as we know from his letters, Fr. Francis Xavier was always filled with joy.

Fr. Francis Xavier went through the islands of Malaysia and then to Japan, where he learned enough Japanese to speak to people, preach, baptize Christians and to establish missions for those who followed him. From Japan, he had dreams of going to China to minister but this was never realized as he died this month in 1552 at China, Sancian Island, where St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church was built in his honor.

More here from American Catholic

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Lorenzo Ruiz & Companions, Martyrs for Christ

St Lorenzo Ruiz

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637)
Image: Catholic Online

(Franciscan Media) Born in Philippines Manila to Christian parents his father Chinese and mother from the Philippines, Lorenzo would learn Mandarin from them and Spanish from the Dominicans, whom he served as an alter boy and sacristan; Later Lorenzo learned calligraphy and would transcribe documents beautifully–he was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under the Dominican auspices, later Lorenzo would marry and have three children–two sons and a daughter.

Lorenzo’s life took an abrupt turn when he would be accused of murder–nothing more is known of this except the state of two Dominican’s that “he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he allegedly was present or which was attributed to him.”

At about this same time, three Dominican Priests (Fr’s Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza) were about to sail to Japan in spite of violent persecution there. — With them was a Japanese Priest Fr. Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a Laymen Lazaro, Lorenzo accepted refuge from them and permitted to accompany them. Only when they were at sea, did Lorenzo learn they were going to Japan.

Finally landing in Okinawa, Lorenzo could have sailed on to Formosa (today known as Taiwan) but he reported: “I decided to stay with the Fathers because the Spaniards would hang me there.” — In Japan, the group were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki, there they were subjected to unspeakable tortures. According to SQPN xxx Lorenzo and the Priests broke at one point and were ready to renounce their faith in exchange for release but after their moment of crisis, they reclaimed their faith, defying their tormentors until death.

Lorenzo died in September 1637 — Venerated in 1980, Beatified in 1981 and Canonized in 1987 by Pope Saint John Paul II

More here by Pope Saint John Paul II here by American Catholic and here Novena to St. Lorenzo from Children’s Rosary

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, St. Paul Chong Hasang and Companions, Martyrs for Christ

Sts Andrew Kim and Paul ChongSt. Andrew Kim Tae-gon & St. Paul Chong Hasang — Pray For Us
Image Courtesy: Pinterest

(Vatican) Pope Saint John Paul II said this of the Catholic Church in Korea in his Homily during the ‘Celebration of Mass for the Canonization of Korean Martyrs’ on the 06 May, 1984

“The truth about Jesus Christ–reached Korean soil, it came by means of books brought from China and in a most marvelous way, divine grace soon moved your scholarly ancestors, first to an intellectual quest for the truth of God’s word and then to a living faith in the Risen Savior.

Yearning for an ever greater share in the Christian faith, tour ancestors, sent one of their own to Peking where he was Baptized. From this good seed was born the first Christian community in Korea, unique in the history of the Church by reason of the fact, that it was founded entirely by Lay people.

This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus in less than a century, it could boast 10,000 Martyrs. The years 1791, 1801, 1827, 1839, 1846 and 1866 are forever signed with the Holy blood of your Martyrs and engraved in your hearts.

Even though the Christians in the first half century only had two Priests from China to assist them and these only for a time, they deepened their unity in Christ through prayer and fraternal love; they disregarded social classes, encouraged religious vocations and they sought ever closer union with the Bishop in Peking and the Pope in faraway Rome.

After years of pleading for more Priests to be sent, your Christian ancestors welcomed the first French Missionaries in 1836 — Some of these too are numbered among the Martyrs who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel and who are being Canonized today in this historic celebration.”

Saint Andrew Kim Taegon: (EWTN) Born 1821 in Korea Chungchong Province, his parents being converts to Catholicism were subject to persecution, to avoid this they moved to Kyonggi Province.

At the age of 15, Kim Tae-gon was selected by a visiting Priest to be a Seminarian and was sent with two other Seminarian to China Macau.

Arriving in 1873 he began his studies with the Missionaries of the Far Eastern Procure of the ‘Paris Foreign Mission Society’ by 1842 Kim Tae-gon left Macau as an Interpreter for a French Admiral aboard a warship. When the Admiral returned to France, Kim Tae-gon attempted to return to his homeland through the strictly guarded Northern frontier but failed.

In 1844 Kim Tae-gon was Ordained a Deacon in China, managing to return to Korea the following year arriving in Seoul — Kim Tae-gon would subsequently lead the French Missionaries by sea to China Shanghai, where Bishop Ferreol Ordained Kim Tae-gon the first Korean Priest in the Church’s 60 yr history in Korea.

Fr. Kim Tae-gon would return to Korea with Bishop Ferreol, reaching Chungchong Province by October 1845 — In Fr. Kim Tae-gon hometown, he Catechized the Christian faithful until Bishop Ferreol summoned him to Seoul.

At Bishop Ferreol Order, Fr.  Kim Tae-gon, he attempted to introduce French Missionaries from China into Korea, enlisting the aid of Chinese Fishermen. For this, Fr. Kim Tae-gon was arrested and sent to the central prison in Seoul, where he was charged as the ‘ringleader’ of a heretical sect, traitor to his country and sentenced to death by beheading.

Saint Paul Chong Hasang: (SQPN) Born 1795 in Korea and son of Yak Jong Church who was Martyred for Christ in 1801 during the persecution of Shin-Yu, which resulted in the deaths of all of the Clergy– Paul Chong Hasang though a Laymen, reunited the scattered Christians, encouraging them to keep and live their faith.

Paul Chong Hasang would write the Sang-Je-Sang-Su attempting to explain to the Korean government why the Church was no threat to them. Crossing into China 9 separate times, he worked as a servant to the Korean diplomatic corps. There Paul Chong Hasang worked to get the Bishop of Beijing, to send more Priests to Korea, he would likewise plead directly to Rome for assistance.

In September 1831 Pope Gregory X proclaimed the validity of the Korean Catholic Diocese. When the Priests began to return, Paul Ching Hasang entered the Seminary to study for the Priesthood, however he would be Martyred during the Gi Hye perscution of 1839 before he could be Ordained. — Paul Chong Hasang is remembered as one of the ‘Great Founders’ of the Catholic Church in Korea.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, there were 6 great waves of persecutions in which some 10,000 Christians according to Catholic News Agency shed their blood for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Today there are an estimated 5.1 Million Catholics in Korea.

More here from American Catholic

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Gregory Grassi & Companions, Martyrs for Jesus Christ

St Gregory Grassi & Companions

St. Gregory Grassi & Companions
Image: Pinterest

(Franciscan Media) Born in Italy in 1833 Ordained a Priest in 1856 Fr. Gregory Grassi was sent to China five years later–Fr. Gregory Grassi was subsequently Ordained a Bishop of North Shanxi during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

Christian missionaries have often been caught in the crossfire of wars against their own nations–when the governments of Britain, Germany, Russia and France, forced substantial territory concessions from China in 1898 anti-foreign sentiment grew very strong among people in China.

Together with 14 other European Missionaries and 14 Religious in China, Bishop Gregory Grassi was martyred for their Faith in Jesus Christ during the bloody ‘Boxer Rebellion’ in 1900

Twenty six of these Martyrs were arrested upon orders Yuxian Governor of Shanxi and hacked to death: Five of them were Friars Minor;  Seven were ‘Franciscan Missionaries of Mary’ the first martyrs of their congregations; Seven were Chinese Seminarians together with Secular Franciscans; Four Martyrs were Chinese Laymen and the rest were Chinese Laymen which simply were employed by the ‘Franciscans’ and caught in the roundup of the others– Three Italian were Martyred the same week of the twenty-six in Hunan in South-Central China.

All of these Martyrs for Jesus Christ were Beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1946 and Canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2000

More here from American Catholic

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VIA: Xinhua

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