Monday, December 7, 2009

British Provincial On St. Francis Xavier, S.J.

The Jesuit British Provincial Fr Michael Holman, preached at the Mass for the Feast of St Francis Xavier, which was also a Mass of Thanksgiving for contributors to and supporters of Pray-as-you-go. This is what he said:

Two days ago, having some time on my hands, I took a walk at around mid-day out of my office here in Mount Street, across Grosvenor Square and up to Oxford Street. I went to stand on a traffic island in the middle of the Edgware Road where it meets Bayswater Road just opposite Marble Arch. Well, what would you do with a few moments to spare in central London?

For us Jesuits and for a great many others in the Church in this country, that traffic island is a special place.

In the middle there is a plaque where Tyburn Tree once stood. On December 1st, we celebrated the memory of Edmund Campion. With two companions, the Jesuit Alexander Briant and the secular priest Ralph Sherwin, all missionaries to England, he was executed on that spot on that day in 1581.

It struck me at the time how, looking around from the middle of that busy street, you get a good enough idea of the city to which and the people to whom we have been sent today.

It's a world so different from that which Edmund Campion knew. And so different from the world of Francis Xavier who grew up 60 years before in a castle in northern Spain. There his horizons as a young man as he stood on its battlements were limited by the hills that surrounded him on all sides, yet in adult life he carried the gospel to the edge of the known world and beyond. Since then, he has become the model and the motivation for the generations of missionaries, from Campion's time to today.

Link (here) to the full text of the homily by Fr. Michael Holman, S.J.

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