UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
St Francis Xavier
- December 3, 2012
Certainly, young Francisco had other plans in mind when he lived in Paris in the 1530s, studying for a master’s in theology. The young man from Navarra, in Spain, was looking forward to a promising career in the Church. But in Paris he came under the spell of Ignatius Loyola, who challenged him to serve under an ‘eternal king’, Jesus Christ. Thoroughly transformed by the ‘Spiritual Exercises’, Xavier took a vow of celibacy, was ordained priest, and with seven other companions led by Ignatius, formed the original ‘Society of Jesus’.
While serving as Ignatius’s secretary in Rome, Francis volunteered to accompany the Portuguese ambassador to Lisbon. From there he set out for Goa to preach Christ’s message in a strange country, India. His journeys criss-crossed south India and Sri Lanka, where he planted the faith through preaching and catechesis. He also started the first seminary in Goa, the College of St Paul, to train Indian priests.
Francis did not limit himself to the Indian subcontinent. He traveled to Malacca, to the Spice Islands, to the Philippines and finally to Japan. Struggling with the language, and in the face of bitter opposition from the Buddhist monks, he preached the ‘good news’ of Jesus and worked many miracles. Within 40 years, the Church in Japan numbered four hundred thousand!
Realizing that the Japanese looked up to China as their model in every respect, Francis determined to go there, at that time forbidden territory to all foreigners. He did not succeed. He died of fever on the island of Sancian, outside Canton in 1552. He was 44 years old.
His innumerable letters made Francis Xavier a household word in Catholic Europe, and their graphic descriptions of missionary life inspired thousands of men and women to follow in his footsteps.
There was never anyone like him. And we can confidently say, there will never be again.