Relics of St Francis Xavier visit Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 25-9-2012

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia's Sydney Campus has recently joined with the Sydney Archdiocesan Chaplaincies and the parish community of St Benedict's to honour the visiting relics of St Francis Xavier, patron of all foreign missions and one of Australia's first patron saints.

There was standing room only in St Benedict's Church following the procession of the relic to the altar and the Mass and veneration that followed.

The relic is the baptizing right arm of St Francis Xavier, who christened tens of thousands of people during missionary work in Africa, India and Asia in the 16th Century. For 400 years the relic has been housed in a silver box in the mother-Church of the Jesuit order, Il Gesu, in Rome. It visited Notre Dame on a rare, three month pilgrimage around Australia to help mark the "Year of Grace" ahead of Pope Benedict's universal "Year of Faith," which begins across the globe on 11 October 2012.

Masters student Tomasz Juszczak represented the University in the Guard of Honour, carrying the relic in and out of the Church.

"Being part of the Guard of Honour was incredibly special," Mr Juszczak said.

"It isn't every day that a person is able to venerate such a great saint's relic. I was only inches away from an amazing saint and the experience helped me put St Francis' life in perspective. It inspired me to continue to grow in holiness because the saint's life was no longer just a story I had heard, it became a complete reality for me."

Notre Dame Student Chaplaincy Convenor, Jessica Langrell, said the Mass and solemn veneration for St Francis Xavier were a wonderful success.

"It was a great opportunity for Notre Dame staff, students, young professionals and parishioners to be inspired by the holiness and great missionary zeal of this saint," she said.

The pilgrimage of the Holy relic will conclude in Sydney on 3 December, the feast day of St Francis Xavier, with a Mass at St Mary's Cathedral.

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Ebbs: Tel (08) 9433 0610; Mob 0408 959 138 Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093