2014-12-01 14:42:00

Pius XII and St. Francis Xavier: Vatican Radio's message from 1952

(Vatican Radio ) Celebrations are underway across the world to mark the day the Church celebrates Saint Francis Xavier. As we know his feast day falls on December 3, to coincide with the date of his passing away back in 1552. In a special way in the Indian city of Goa his sacred relics are being exposed. An event which takes place every ten years and this time round lasts from November 22, 2014 to  January 4, 2015. The silver casket which contains his relics is normally housed in the Bom Jesus Basilica in this same city.  

This Jesuit was one of the first companions of Ignatius of Loyola and as thousands of  Indian faithful flock to Goa in an act of  veneration here at Vatican Radio we too chose to pay homage to this patron saint of missions by sharing with you a recording from our Vatican Radio archives.It dates back to New Year's eve in 1952, when in the heart of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace Pope Pius XII reaches out through the air waves to the faithful of India.

Listen to a programme with sound clips from a Vatican Radio recording of Pope Pius XII's  radio message relating to St. Francis Xavier  in a programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick

The early 1950's marked a delicate time in the history of  this nation, a mere handful of  years had gone by since  independence from Britain. So Pius XII on this occasion made an unguarded appeal for Christians to close ranks, to stand together in the face of  change. We make bold, he said, to call even on our separated brethren.

This Roman Pontiff also appealed to the people of India to draw from the religious spirit rooted in their souls to defeat what he called “godlessness”, through exemplary Christian witness. A witness, inspired as he highlighted, by two heroes of the Catholic faith in India, Saint  Thomas the Apostle of course who had come to India nineteen centuries earlier but also the young Francis Xavier who had come to this same nation four centuries earlier.

Francis Xavier, Pius XII  insisted on this occasion, had in  "far flung plans of spiritual greatness",  brought the gospel message from India’s West Coast and Indonesia to Japan.




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