Xavier and Australia

When Australia was still considered mission territory, apart from our national patron, Our Lady Help of Christians, St Francis Xavier was one of our missionary patrons, along with St Therese of Lisieux.  For this reason, , many parishes, cathedrals and schools around the country were named in Xavier’s honour (along with a number of Jesuit ministries, as one would expect!).  His story was a popular part of catechesis and his intercession was sought for the needs of the country.  This changed to some extent when we no longer were considered mission territory (as recently as 1976).  But the connection of St Francis Xavier to the life of the Church in our country continues, along with affection for him in the hearts of Australian Catholics. 

Beyond this mission history, the Australian Church has been blessed in recent decades with an influx of members from countries where Xavier evangelized, especially Indian and Sri Lanka.  Moreover, many of the countries in which Xavier served or wished to serve are ones with which Australia has significant relations that will only grow in the coming decades - India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, and China.  We might well invoke Xavier’s intercession for our relations with these nations as we continue to find our place in this region of the world. 

And, of course, we need to remember that in many ways we remain mission territory, needing to have the faith awakened once more. This is precisely what the New Evangelization is about - a rekindling of faith and of the Gospel message in traditionally Christian nations like ours.  Francis Xavier can very much be a model, inspiration and intercessor for us in this regard.