Pastoral Notes 26th January 2014

A Missionary Saint

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622), a missionary bishop, whose feast is 24th January, is the patron of a missionary congregation whose priests work in several parishes of our diocese, like Father Bosco with us. St Francis became a priest (and then bishop) against his father’s wishes, but was himself very sensitive to the variety of vocations among all members of the Church and wrote memorably for lay men and women. He wanted religious women to be able to work outside convents in charity and apostolic work, a hope fulfilled by the efforts of his friend St Vincent de Paul. He won thousands of people to the faith, “not by force but by charity”. “Nothing human is foreign to me”, he would quote, and repeat the need for humility, adding “A judicious silence is always better than a truth spoken without charity!” Or again, “We cannot often do great things for God but we can always do little things with great love”. Pope Pius XI named him patron saint of writers and journalists.