Friday, November 28, 2008

Xavier Mass 2008

Above is a favorite icon entitled "The Burning Passion of Saint Francis Xavier" by Jesuit iconographer William Hart McNichols, SJ. As opposed to common depictions of the Saint, Xavier here is shown to be in prayer, contemplating the love of God, which truly becomes the source of his apostolic zeal and fruitfulness.

For devotees and priest-friends who may want to use this for private prayer or liturgical celebration, here is the text I was tasked to prepare for this year's Mass on the obligatory memorial (feast SJ, solemnity in XS) of Saint Francis Xavier.

The praenotanda:

1. An obligatory memorial in the General Calendar of the Universal Church and a feast in the General Calendar of the Society of Jesus, the feast of Saint Francis Xavier is a Proper Solemnity in Xavier School, being the principal patron of the place. As such, it is to be celebrated with great beauty and particular splendor as befits the dignity of this feast.

2. The celebration of the feast of Saint Francis Xavier for this year revolves around the theme of the saint’s renowned passion for his apostolic and missionary work, coinciding with the observance of the Pauline Year in the Universal Church. The lines are taken from the second decree of the 35th General Council of the Society of Jesus (GC35): Go, Set the World Alight: A Fire Kindling Other Fires inspired by Saint Ignatius Loyola’s reported exhortation to Francis Xavier as the latter embarked on his apostolic journey.

3. The readings for this liturgy follow the theme of this year’s celebration. The First reading, taken from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians, speaks of the love of Christ who died for our sakes as the moving force in the apostle’s life and labor.

4. The Responsorial Psalm, John Foley, SJ's "Dwelling Place" is a canticle based on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: song of praise for the love of God revealed in Christ and a petition that our lives be rooted in that love as a source of “strength for our living”.

5. The Gospel Reading, from Matthew, which is the Gospel for that day, speaks of the heart of Jesus as being “moved with compassion” for the hungry crowd. This same love fueled the passion of Saint Francis Xavier to proclaim Christ to the many crowds in the East, which must also fuel our mission to proclaim and make present the provident concern of the heart of Christ for those who continue to hunger today.

6. The prayers of the Mass are taken from the Proper of Saint Francis Xavier in the Roman Sacramentary, since they use simpler words that are easier for our students to understand, while articulating the same substance of the prayers provided in the Jesuit Supplement to the Roman Sacramentary and Lectionary. The Proper Preface of Saint Francis Xavier, however, is
taken from the Jesuit Supplement. The Eucharistic Prayer for Masses for Various Needs and Occasions III: Jesus, Way to the Father, is used.

7. In this Mass, four Jesuits will be having their Renovation of Vows, after the Ecce Agnus Dei, according to the formula and manner of Jesuit custom.

Click here for the full text of Xavier Mass 2008.


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