The Church calls Saint Francis Xavier “the Apostle to the Indies”
and “the Apostle of Japan.” The word apostle means “one
who is sent.” Jesus sent his twelve apostles out to announce the
coming of God’s kingdom. Hundreds of years later, the Church sent
Francis Xavier out to the Indies to preach the same good news.
Francis was born in Spain in 1506. He joined the Jesuit Order in 1534.
Then, in 1541, he sailed to Goa, India. There, he preached about Jesus—the
poor carpenter of Nazareth.
Francis knew that actions speak louder than words. So he not only told
the poor people of India the message of the Gospels. He acted out this
message by living, sleeping, eating, playing, and working among the poor.
Did they live in rickety huts? So did he! Did they eat only rice? So did
he! Did they work long hours in the hot sun? So did he! Because of his
words and actions, many thousands came to believe in the Christian God
of mercy and love and tenderness.
In 1547, Francis sailed to Japan. In the two years he was there, he baptized
thousands of people. But Francis had a dream. He wanted to take the good
news to China. So, in 1552 he set sail again. But on board ship, he got
sick. Fearful, the sailors left him on a deserted island with only one
friend. There, at the age of forty-six, he died, far from home, but not
far from God.
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
Junior High, Liturgy and Morality, chapter 23