On Saturday Dec 3rd many Catholic Christian Indian families in Metro Vancouver attended the Feast for the Saint of the Day, St Francis Xavier. Singing together is a beautiful way to celebrate God’s marvels and one such wonderful celebration was with the melodious choir at the Immaculate Conception Church in Delta BC.
When the Catholic church “canonizes” an official Saint, then they are in heaven with Jesus. A Saint feast day is a day that is designated to celebrate the life of that Saint. It is often their anniversary celebration but not always. Many families from Western parts of India celebrate on December 3rd, the Feast for their family’s own patron Saint, St Francis Xavier.
Francis Xavier arrived in Goa, then capital of Portuguese India, on 6 May 1542, thirteen months after leaving Lisbon. St Francis firstly preached, taught, heard confessions, and encouraged the Portuguese settlers who had migrated to Goa to live their baptismal faith. After working among his own for a few years establishing the basic structures of an organized church, including a seminary, Francis went on sub-missions inside of his greater mission to Asia using Goa as his base. He spent much of his time preaching among the poor, among children and ministering to the sick. Wherever he went, Xavier lived with the poorest people, sharing their food and rough accommodations.
St Francis is remembered and revered as Saint of the Day on Dec 3rd. About 16,000 Christians from India live in Greater Vancouver (source: as quoted in Wikipedia from Statistics Canada 2021) and this celebration on Dec 3rd was another story among All Things Indian in Vancouver. At this time of the year the Christmas celebrations are all over town as are carols and candy canes and preparations galore to welcome Santa. The Christian spirit is embraced by one and all at this time to love your neighbor as yourself, forgive others who have wronged you, love even your enemies and ask forgiveness of your sins. I am joining in this spirit and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Peace be with you.
Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Church_of_St._Francis_Xavier,_old_goa.JPG