Monday, December 04, 2006

At the tomb of St. Francis Xavier

Not Bom Jesus in Goa, the temporary one, in Malacca.

Feast day at saint’s tomb

MALACCA: Thousands of Christian devotees from all over Malaysia and Singapore thronged the ruins of St Paul’s Church atop a hillock to mark the feast day celebrations of St Francis Xavier yesterday.

The annual event is held at the Church of StFrancis Xavier in Banda Kaba for a week every year and culminates with a trilingual Eucharistic service (English, Tamil and Mandarin) at a specially erected altar in front of the saint’s tomb on the hill.

However, this time the church joined hands with the Jesuit religious community of Malaysia-Singapore to arrange and conduct the various religious and spiritual programmes which started on Nov 29.

MASS PRAYERS: Catholic pilgrims from Malaysia and Singapore thronging the St Paul’s Church atop a hillock to mark the feast day celebrations of St Francis Xavier on Sunday.
The devotees included Filipino, Indonesian and Vietnamese migrant workers andtourists from Taiwan and China.

With the feast day celebrations this year culminating on the date of the death of St Francis Xavier (Dec 3), two Eucharistic services were presided by 11 local and visiting members of the Roman Catholic clergy headed by Malaysia-Singapore Jesuit community superior general Larry Tan.

Described as the Apostle of the East and the Patron of the Missions, St Francis Xavier

was born in Navarre, Spain in 1506.

The St Paul’s Church atop a hillock was regarded as the missionary headquarters of the saint who used Malacca as a base for his travels to propagate the Catholic faith in Indonesia and the Far East including Japan.

St Francis spent nearly 11 years of his missionary life in Asia, making five visits to Malacca between September 1545 and May 1552.

Following St Francis’ death on Sanchian Island off the coast of mainland China in early December, 1552, his body was temporarily buried for some nine months in 1553 at St Paul’s Hill, before being shipped to its final resting place at Basilica Bom Jesus in Goa, India.

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