Archbishop's Blog

  • Relic of Saint Francis Xavier comes to Winnipeg:

    Posted on January 24, 2018

    It was a particular joy to welcome to the city of Winnipeg the relic of St. Francis Xavier. The relic of St. Francis Xavier consists of his hand and forearm which is, in fact, incorrupt, the saint having died in the 16th century. It is normally kept in a shrine in the Jesuit Church in Rome, called the Gesu, and rarely leaves Italy. The fact that there was a Canadian pilgrimage arranged with the relic, is owed to the intervention of Archbishop Prendergast SJ, of Ottawa who requested that this favour from his Jesuit Order, be granted to Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO). The CCO community is a new movement in the Church which specializes in pastoral outreach on Canadian university campuses. Their foundation is linked to the Church’s New Evangelization and they embrace this great missionary saint as their patron saint. CCO accompanied the relic from coast to coast and provided opportunities for Canadians to pray in the presence of the relic and to be physically close to this great and well known saint of God. They also provided talks on the life of St. Francis Xavier. Many of the more than 3,000 people who came to the cathedral during the day on January 16th, came from countries which were first Evangelized by this saint.
    St. Francis Xavier has been called the greatest missionary since St. Paul and was responsible for spreading the faith of Christ in India, Malaysia and Japan. He died of illness on a small island off the coast of China, believing that God was calling him to Evangelize there also. Catholics and Eastern Christians have great regard for the relics of saints as we believe that the human person is both body and soul and holiness is in both. The saints in heaven are part of us who are living and we are part of them as members of the Body of Christ. The reverence for saints is a reverence for Jesus Christ whose Grace dwells within us. Relics are tangible ways we can draw close to the saints and ask them to pray for us.

    A photo of the chapel at the University of Winnipeg where CCO displayed the relic of St. Francis Xavier and conducted a praise and worship event for students.

    Below, Two photos of the interior of St. Mary’s Cathedral with people coming for veneration and prayer.

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