JOHN PAUL II EVOKES ST. FRANCIS XAVIER'S MISSIONARY EPIC
Conclusion of 450th Anniversary of Japan's First Evangelization
VATICAN CITY, OCT 6 (ZENIT).- St. Francis Xavier's memorable missionary
epic, which took Christ's message to Japan in the second half of the 16th
century, was evoked by the Holy Father in a letter sent to U.S. Cardinal
Edmund Szoka, who he named special envoy to the closing celebrations of
the 450th anniversary of the first evangelization of that Asian country,
scheduled for October 11 in Kagoshima.
Francis Xavier arrived in this southwestern city from India and other
territories, on August 15, 1548, accompanied, as the Pontiff recalls in this
letter written in Latin, by the first Japanese to be baptized -- Yajiro, a
refugee who converted and who helped St. Francis in his missionary
John Paul II rejoices with all the Catholic community in Japan, which at
present numbers some 450,000 faithful, on this significant anniversary, as
well as over the numerous initiatives organized to commemorate St. Francis
Xavier. The Pontiff also sent special greetings to the followers of other
religions in Japan.
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