Saints celebrated this week
S. Andrew – 30th November
Andrew was the brother of Peter and was born in Bethsaida. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that He will make them “fishers of men” Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist until, with Peter, he answered the call of Christ. He is mentioned several times in the Gospels:- he brought the Gentiles to Jesus and pointed out the boy with the loaves and the fishes. Andrew is thought to have preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, along the Black Sea as far as the Volga and Kiev. Hence he became a patron saint of Romania and Russia. He is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at Patras (Patrae) in Achaea, on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross) and commonly known as “St. Andrew’s cross”, at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross on which Christ was crucified.
S. Francis Xavier – 3rd December
Francis Xavier was born in the family castle of Xavier in the Kingdom of Navarre, on 7th April 1506. At the age of 19, he went to study at the University of Paris, where he received a licence ès arts in 1530. Along with St. Ignatius he was an original member of the Society of Jesus and took vows of poverty and chastity and committed himself to evangelise the pagans. He devoted much of his life to missions in foreign countries and preached in Goa, South East Asia and Japan, where he landed in 1549. He learned Japanese and formed a Church that endured long drawn out persecution. On 21st November 1552, on Shangchuan Island, he fainted after celebrating Mass and died on 3rd December aged 46. His work was of fundamental significance to the propagation of Christianity in China and Japan and he was a inspiration to many people with his miraculous work. His preaching was effective in drawing people to Christ, and he was able to organise the communities so that they could survive when he left them. He was canonised in 1622
S. John Damascene – 4th December
John was born in or about 675 in Damascus. He was a polymath whose fields of interest and contribution included Law, Theology, Philosophy and Music. He was the Chief Administrator to the ruler of Damascus, wrote works expounding the Christian faith, and wrote hymns which are still in everyday use in Eastern Christian Monasteries throughout the world. After holding public office for some time he withdrew to the monastery of Sabas, near Jerusalem where he continued to produce a series of commentaries, hymns and apologetic writings. He died in 749 as a revered Father of the Church.
S. Nicolas – 6th December
Nicholas was born during the third century in the village of Patara, Turkey. Very little is known of his life, but he had a reputation for secret gift-giving. Nicholas is also known for coming to the defence of the falsely accused, often preventing them from being executed, and for his intercession on behalf of sailors and other travellers.