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St. Francis Xavier Relic Drew Large Crowds

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By Frank Flegel

The St. Francis Xavier Relic two-day visit to Regina attracted more than 3,000 people to the two locations where it was displayed.

An estimated 450 people visited the Campion College chapel at the University of Regina over the course of a 12-hour vigil and about 2,400 attended at Resurrection Church over a 10-hour vigil there. Campion was an obvious choice for the visit as St. Francis Xavier was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit order).

The vigil at Campion College began at 7 p.m. Friday, January 19 and remained exposed to 9 a.m. Saturday, January 20, when it was taken down and moved to Resurrection Church for a 10 a.m. mass to begin the 10-hour vigil there. At 9 p.m. the reliquary beside the Campion chapel altar was moved away and a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament was placed in the centre of the altar and remained exposed along with the St. Francis Xavier Relic until 9.a.m. Saturday.

The format was the same at each location; Reverend John O’Brien S.J. talked about the relic and about the life of St. Francis. He was followed by Angele Regnier, co-founder of Catholic Christian Outreach (CC0) that is transporting the relic on its tour of Canada. She explained the contents of the package everyone received when they came to see the relic. “Listen to your heart and soul when you come to venerate the relic, gently touch the reliquary with the card that has the image of St. Francis. It then becomes a holy card,” said Regnier. “Keep it in your bible or beside your bed on a night table where you can touch it.”  She also invited people to leave the white prayer card in the basket beside the reliquary. The cards will be collected and intentions written on the card will be prayed for by members of Catholic Christian Outreach.

Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen celebrated the 10 a.m. mass at Resurrection Church and thanked CCO for including Regina on the Canadian tour. Reverend Sami Helewa, Head of the local Jesuit community gave the homily. “Francis was a member of a proud family who lived in what is now the Basque region of Spain. When he went to school in Paris it was not to prepare for a future, it was something he was expected to do to keep up the name of the proud family. One of his room mates was Ignatius Loyola who, in conversations with Francis, changed his direction by encouraging him to be a missionary,” Helewa explained, and together they founded the Jesuit Order.   

The Regina visit was organized by Pierre and Laura O’Reilly. Pierre is Director of Development at Campion College. “It was beyond what was expected,” he told the PM about the Regina visit.  

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