The celebration year of the 500th Anniversary of Saint Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Jesuits, a Jubilee Mass in St. Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner St. Dublin 1. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is the main celebrant and President Mc Aleese will attend.
December 3rd is the Feast day of Francis Xavier the pioneering Saint born in 1506
near Pamplona in Northern Spain and educated at the University of Paris. There he joined a group of graduate students who became the first Jesuits. In 1541, Francis went to India, beginning ten years of missionary activity that took him around southern India, parts of modern Indonesia and Japan. According to Fr.Donal Neary SJ, parish priest of Gardiner St
“Francis journeys were more than a trip, more than a Rough Guide or Lonely Planet map-following. He lived, as St Ignatius, friend and founder of the Jesuits, ‘with one foot raised’, ready to move. His journeys were a mission, to spread as best he could the gospel of Jesus Christ to people who had never heard of it.” Jesuit historian and archivist Fergus O Donoghue says “Francis worked with the most humble people and baptised thousands. Hoping to get into China, he died within sight of the country on Sancian Island in 1552. His very attractive personality and his incredible capacity for work made him famous in his own lifetime, though not all missionaries were able to follow his innovative methods”.
The Jubilee Mass this Saturday marks the beginning of year long celebrations worldwide for the Saints 500th Anniversary. The popular Gospel Mass, Sunday 7.30pm in Gardiner St. Church will also celebrate the Saint focusing on the theme of ‘Volunteering’ and on Monday night Our Lady’s Choral Society and soloists will give a Christmas concert there at 8pm. A schools pack and power point presentation on the life of the Saint will be distributed to every secondary school in Ireland along with the anniversary poster specially commissioned by the Jesuits. It highlights the missionary call to spread the faith and work for justice, central to Francis Xavier and to Jesuits across the world to-day.