The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Letters 651-950

These letters of St. Gaspar are now
online. Click on the documents tab.

Hmmmmm.....How would you prepare a modern version of Gaspar's mission? Read letters 859,860, and 900 and give me some advice.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:32 PM link
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I was in Ireland in August and did not see this before. By the way, ROTFL= rolling on the floor laughing.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 7:31 PM link
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Today's Gospel

Today's Gospel, Mark 16:15-20 Since today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the patron of the missionaries of the Precious Blood, we used the readings of the feast instead of the readings of the day.

This is a difficult scripture passage to preach on. Most of the commentaries ignore it. It is a summary, a completion of the Mark’s Gospel. It is important not to take it too literally. Many have died of snake bites because they focused too closely on some of the more fantastic elements of this passage.

It is important to know that there must be evidence that we believe. Signs will accompany those who believe. I remember hearing once about a homilist on the feast of Christ the King who simply said, “If Christ is your King, prove it,” and then he sat down.

This is also the gospel text for the feast of St. Gaspar del Bufalo. I remember preaching once that Gaspar handled deadly serpents when he handled Napoleon. The passage that stuck me this morning was drink any deadly thing. Has not the scandal of this past two years been a deadly poison that the church has been forced to drink? It has not changed who we are or who we are called to be. It has not changed our mission. Have we not remained the bride of Christ, washed and purified in his most precious blood?

Nothing deterred Francis from his mission. In his short 46 years he literally took the Gospel to the ends of the earth. His approach was simple and direct, and that is who we are called to be in this time and place.

Go into the whole world…. Is there a corner of your home that has yet to hear the good news? This is a gospel that calls for the cooperation and participation of all the baptized. Do you know anyone who doesn’t need a bit of good news? Be one of those signs that accompany belief today. Then we will see the advent of God. It may be a dim reflection of dawn on the horizon, but it is still the advent of God.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 4:29 PM link
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The Creche

I learned that he was devoted to the Holy Christ Child and he demonstrated this to me when on the eve of the holy Nativity he would never remain at home but would spend that night either in the Vincentian house in the Montecitorio area or in that of San Silvestro in the Quirinale area. The Vincentians would ordinarily give him an invitation to sing one of the other Masses. He showed a tremendous joy when he was given the gift of a Christmas crib by the nuns of Sant’Urbino. He had a setting made for it and had them set it up in the room where he slept.

from the deposition of Vincenzo Severini in the process of the canonization of St. Gaspar del Bufalo

I was given this creche by a dear friend and over the past few years I have added pieces to it. There are now more than 70 pieces. I picked up 25 new pieces this past summer while I was in Italy. I could not resist since the cost was only a fraction of what they cost over here. Think of it as a progressive creche. During Advent a few pieces will be added each day.

As I work today I have Advent music playing. The Christmas music will wait until December 25. The Creche remains until the Feast of the Baptism.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 9:41 AM link
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First Wednesday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 25: 6-10a; Matthew 15: 29-37

Here in the U.S. the liturgical season of Advent often gives way to pre-Christmas celebrations. During these rites making merry replaces waiting longingly, and enjoying delicious foods precludes practicing penance. It’s a good time to remind ourselves that our true Advent waiting is like a hunger for the rich food and choice wines promised by our God through the prophet Isaiah.

A few years ago we chose this same passage from Isaiah to celebrate the life of our friend and CPPS brother, Fr. Raymond Zarate, at his home-going. He loved to cook and often set a table like the one Isaiah describes as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet we so desire. Extending his table welcome to everyone was Raymond’s spirituality of covenant lived to the full.

There’s something about sharing at a table where all are welcome and enjoy juicy, rich food and choice wines that destroys the veil that veils us all and breaks down what divides us. At that table we taste and see the goodness of the One whose coming we await again and again. Just as sure as “the hand of our God will rest on this mountain,” Emmanuel hosts our table sharings.

“We were just sitting there talking,” Dorothy Day writes about her table in The Long Loneliness, “when lines of people began to form, saying, ‘We need bread.’ We could not say, ‘Go, be thou filled.’ If there were six small loaves and a few fishes, we had to divide them. There was always bread.”

There are always pre-Christmas parties with scrumptious cuisine. These are Advent reminders we are a covenant people who long for the One whose presence feeds thousands and makes sure there are leftovers for all.

Today, practice generous hospitality in imitation of our God of the Covenant.

Reflection by: Rev. Denny Kinderman, C.PP.S. (Cincinnati Province)

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 8:26 AM link
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Saint Francis Xavier
Apostle to the East
Co-patron of the Missions
Patron of the Missionaries and Adorers of the Precious Blood
Patron of the Apostleship of Prayer
feast day, December 3

Francesco de Jassu y Xavier was born in 1506 in the Basque region of Navarre. Instead of following his older brothers into military service, he went to the University of Paris when he turned eighteen. After he finished his master's studies, Francis served as a professor. He hoped to complete a doctorate in philosophy and eventually be ordained a priest. As a member of the nobility, he aspired to a prestigious position as canon of the cathedral in Pamplona.

Francis and his friend Pierre Favre acquired an unusual roommate in 1528, a former soldier who had experienced a remarkable conversion while recovering from serious wounds -- Inigo de Loyola. Though Francis first resisted Loyola's enthusiasm, he became one of Ignatius' original company. They made religious vows in 1534 and made their way to Venice. They served in hospitals while waiting for an opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Francis, along with Ignatius and several others, was ordained in 1537. Since the wars with the Turks continued to make their pilgrimage impossible, Ignatius and his followers left Venice and offered their services to the pope as missionaries.

The Society of Jesus was officially approved as a religious order in 1540. Ignatius immediately sent Francis to Portugal, since King Joao III was eager to have the Jesuits serve as missionaries in the Portuguese colonies in Asia. After spending a winter in Mozabique, Francis set sail for India.

The story of his journeys is an epic adventure. He arrived in Goa in May 1542 and went on from there to Cape Comorin in the south of India. Here he spent three years working among the pearl fishers, or Paravas. From there he went on to the East Indies, to Malacca (a major city on the Malay Peninsula) and to the Molucca Islands (south of the Philippines, now part of Indonesia). In 1549, he set out for Japan. He died on December 3, 1552, on the island of Sancian, off the coast of China near Canton.

Thus in ten years, he traversed the greater part of the Far East. When one considers the conditions of travel, the means of transport, the delays and difficulties which beset him at every stage, it is, even physically an astounding achievement. It is even more remarkable when one considers that he left behind him a flourishing church wherever he went and that the effects of his labours remain to the present day.

Many miracles have been attributed to Saint Francis. He is said to have possessed the gift of tongues, to have healed the sick and even to have raised the dead. That he possessed the gift of prophecy seems to be certain, but he can hardly have possessed the gift of tongues. The evidence is, on the contrary, that he had to rely throughout on interpreters to translate his message into the different languages he required. The real miracle of his life, as has been said, was the miracle of his personality, by which he was able to convert thousands to the faith and win their passionate devotion.

The body of Saint Francis was brought back to Goa. His tomb is in the church of the Bom Jesu, the Good Jesus. It is perfectly preserved!

Francis Xavier and
Saint Gaspar del Bufalo

Saint Gaspar's family lived near the Jesuit Church of the Gesu in Rome, where there is a shrine to Saint Francis Xavier, including his right arm. When Gaspar was about eighteen months old, he contracted smallpox. Fearing that her son would be blind even if he lived, Gaspar's mother prayed at the shrine of Saint Francis. Her prayers were answered! Gaspar's lifelong devotion to this great missionary led him to place the community under his patronage.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 8:23 AM link
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