St. Francis Xavier relic hits very close to home


Catholic Register, 9 January 2018

The relic of St. Francis Xavier is making a Canada-wide visit this month. It began with stops in Quebec City, St. John’s, Nfld., Halifax and Kingston, and visits the Toronto area before heading to the four Western provinces.

Over the years, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, of Ottawa has rendered to the Church many services far beyond his own diocese. He serves on the international committee producing new English translations for liturgical books and has taken on special apostolic visitations to troubled dioceses on behalf of the Holy See. Arranging for the relic of St. Francis Xavier to visit Canada from coast-to-coast is just the latest gift.

Among all relics of all the saints, I dare say that the forearm and hand relic of St. Francis Xavier might just be the most impressive. First, there are few relics — short of incorrupt bodies — as large. And of course the body of St. Francis Xavier is incorrupt, venerated for more than 400 years in the cathedral of Goa, the site of his most impressive missionary work. Only the forearm and hand is kept at il Gesu, the mother church of the Jesuits in Rome, and it is that relic that is making its way across Canada.

The visit of the relic is sponsored by the Archdiocese of OttawaCatholic Christian Outreach (CCO) and the Canadian Jesuits. Members of CCO, Canada’s national campus missionary movement, are accompanying the relic across the country.

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