Thought for the Day – 5 November – The Crucifix Encounter – St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552) and St Guido Maria Conforti

Thought for the Day – 5 November – The Memorial of St Guido Maria Conforti   (1865-1931)

The Crucifix Encounter – St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)

and St Guido Maria Conforti, Founder of the Xaverian Missionaries

The Source of My Vocation alongside St Francis Xavier

Conforti had  similar experience of the crucifix as Saint Francis Xavier had. It is divided into two part, firstly, is the similar experience of the cross since their childhood and secondly, is the experience during their ministry.   Both Conforti and Xavier, contemplated the crucifix since they were children.

“I looked at Him and He looked at me
and it seemed as though
He was telling me many things.”

st guido's crucifix.JPG
This is the actual Crucifix which spoke to St Guido

God revealed the fullness of His love in His Crucified Son.   One day this love touched the heart of young Guido Conforti in an almost natural way.   He was but a child  . Every morning, He stopped at the “Church of Peace” to gaze at the the large Crucifix there.

“The huge crucifix which embellished the altar fascinated him.   He looked at the figure of Jesus and he really believed that Jesus looked at him.   Whatever the nature of the experience, it moved him deeply.   Indeed, so entranced did he become with this crucifix that he became increasingly reluctant to leave the church.   ‘It looked at me and told me so many things’, he was to remark one day, speaking of ‘his crucifix’, ‘for me it is a miraculous crucifix.   I owe my vocation to it’ he was heard to tell one of his friends.”

This was the beginning of an uninterrupted dialogue with Christ crucified.   Later when he was sixty years old and bishop, his sister often found him rapt in ecstasy before that crucifix, which had been brought to his residence, at his request.   Was it that dialogue with the Crucified Lord that sparked the idea to found a missionary congregation?

In the same way, Saint Francis Xavier had an experience with the crucifix in the chapel of the castle in Navarra.   The story says, that while he was cared by his mother in academic and religious education, he passed some time alone contemplating the crucifix which has a special smile.

“During these early years, Francis was often quite late coming home from classes. When that happened, his mother would begin to worry. Soon she would be searching for him in the squares and alleys of the castle town. Usually, she would find her son alone in Church, kneeling before the main altar, apparently absorbed in prayer.”

This experience of both, Xavier and Conforti, is important because it influenced their entire lives.   Both have shown the influence of the crucifix in their writings and especially in their ministry.

Conforti expressed the contemplation of the cross in his writings as bishop and as a founder.   As bishop he promoted his motto “Christ is all things” because his spirituality was centred on the person of Christ: “ Christ was always present in his thoughts and in the heart.   Christ was his constant companion in all the actions of his life.”   He always encouraged the Christians of his dioceses to contemplate the crucifix and to be formed by Him.

As founder of the Xaverian Missionaries, Conforti gave to them the contemplation of the crucifix as the centre of their spirituality.   “In the mind of Blessed Guido Conforti, consecration is born of the contemplation of the crucified Christ and of the love made manifest therein  .”Consecration is not only to make vows but it is more, an experience of the love of Christ on the cross, which invites the consecrated to imitate this love.”

St Francis Xavier, St Guido Maria Conforti, Pray for Us!sts francis xavier and guido maria conforti pray for us 5 nov 2019.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 5 November – St Guido Maria Conforti

Quote/s of the Day – 5 November – The Memorial of St Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931)

“Work always with the same spirit of Christ.
Keep Jesus before your eyes.
He is the model of all called to glory.”

The First Circular Letterwork always with the same spirit of christ - st guido maria conforti 5 nov 2019.jpg

“Don’t be discouraged,
the Lord measures,
not so much the results of your labour,
as the right intention
with which you work.”

don't be discouraged - st guido maria conforti 5 nov 2019.jpg

“Persevere always with a simple spirit,
humility, mortification, good intention,
cleanliness of heart, fraternal charity
and you will constitute a formidable army,
for the Lord will be by your side.”

The Second Circular Letterpersevere always - st guido maria conforti 5 nov 2019.jpg

“On the last day, we will not be asked
if we accomplished great deeds,
or been acclaimed by men,
rather we will be asked
if we followed His will,
in the state and condition,
to which we were called.”

The Eighth Circular Letter

St Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931)on the last day - st guido maria conforti 5 nov 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 5 November – ‘He sends them into the highways, because wisdom sings aloud in passages.’ – St Ambrose

One Minute Reflection – 5 November – Tuesday of the Thirty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 14:15–24 and the Memorial of St Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931)

“‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame…”… Luke 14:21luke 14 21 - go out quickly into the streets and alleys - parable of the great banquet 5 nov 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “He turned to the Gentiles from the careless scorn of the rich.   He invites both good and evil to enter in order to strengthen the good and change the disposition of the wicked for the better.   The saying that was read today is fulfilled, “Then wolves and lambs will feed together.”   He summons the poor, the maimed and the blind.   By this, he shows us, either that handicaps do not exclude us from the kingdom of heaven and whoever lacks the enticements of sinning rarely offends, or that the Lord’s mercy forgives the weakness of sinners.   Whoever glories in the Lord glories as one redeemed from reproach not by works but by faith.

He sends them into the highways, because wisdom sings aloud in passages.   He sends them to the streets, because he sent them to sinners, so that they should come from the broad paths to the narrow way that leads to life.   He sends them to the highways and hedges.   They, who are not busied with any desires for present things, hurry to the future on the path of goodwill.   Like a hedge that separates the wild from the cultivated and wards off the attacks of wild beasts, they can distinguish between good and evil and extend a rampart of faith against the temptations of spiritual wickedness.” … St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father & Doctor of the Church (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 7)he sends them to the highways -luke 14 21 parable of the great banquet st ambrose 5 nov 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, to whom this world with all its goodness and beauty belongs, You give us life to joyfully follow Your commandments and to learn Your ways.   Guard our hearts, that we may always hear and accept Your invitation and race to attend Your banquet in honour of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.   Fill us with an active love to run our race in holiness and may the prayers of Your servant, St Guido Maria Conforti, be a help in our efforts.   We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, guido maria conforti pray for us 5 nov 2019

Posted in ON the SAINTS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 5 November – Saint Guido Maria Conforti:  Driven by the Gospel

Our Morning Offering – 5 November – Saint Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931)

Prayer of the Church
The Church honours Saint Guido Maria Conforti

These prayers are composed based on certain characteristics of Saint Guido Maria Conforti and his life as Bishop and Founder.   From his writings and the witness of people who have come to know this great Bishop of the 20th century, we appreciate his gifts as follower of the Word, Good Shepherd, contemplative of the Cross, faithful disciple, founder of a missionary family, at the service of humanity, model of unity, discerner of the signs of the times, a person driven by the Gospel and a disciple of Jesus the missionary of the Father.

Saint Guido Maria Conforti:  Driven by the Gospel

O God, who through
the contemplation of the Cross,
imprinted on the heart
of Saint Guido Maria Conforti
a burning love for the proclamation
of the Gospel to all nations.
Grant that, through his intercession,
we too may be filled by the same love of Christ,
to constantly work for the salvation
of all our brothers and sisters.
Through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.

More beautiful prayers here: guido maria conforti driven by the gospel - 5 november 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 5 November – Saint Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931)

Saint of the Day – 5 November – Saint Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931) Archbishop, Founder of the Xaverian Missionaries on 3 December 1895, teacher, reformer, Contemplative of the Passion, Eucharistic and Marian devotee – born on 30 March 1865 at Ravadese, Parma, Italy and died on 5 November 1931 in Parma, Italy of natural causes – Patronage – the Xaverian Guido_Maria_Conforti_Vescovo.jpg

Saint Guido Maria Conforti was born in Casalora di Ravadese near Parma to his parents Rinaldo and Antonia Adorni, the eighth of 10 children.   In Parma, he attended primary school at the Brothers of the Christian Schools.   On the way to school, he passed the Church of Peace in Borgo delle Colonne and entered it every day to stop in front of the Crucifix:  “I looked at him and He looked at me and it seemed to me that he said many things,” he said.   It was precisely from the encounter with that Crucifix that the priestly vocation was born in young Conforti.

Despite his father’s resistance, in 1876 Guido entered the seminary.   In those years, the rector was Msgr Andrea Ferrari, future Cardinal and Blessed.   Their relationship became a friendship., who was the mentor of the young man.   Although he was still a student, Conforti was appointed vice-rector and kept the position even after his ordination, demonstrating considerable qualities as an educator.   During the seminary years, Conforti began reading a biography of St Francis Xavier, the Jesuit missionary who proclaimed the message of Christ throughout Asia up to Shangchuan, the gateway to China, where he died in 1552.   The young man was fascinated by the figure of Xavier and felt invited to continue the work that had remained guido young art Conforti-GDL-e9800ec7

This was the spark that inspired his new vocation – the missionary vocation.
Overcoming many obstacles due to his fragile health, he was ordained a priest in the sanctuary of Fontanellato (Parma) on 22 September 1888.   During his years of study, he sought to approach both the Salesians of St John Bosco and the Jesuits in order to become a missionary but it was not possible for him because of his precarious health conditions. However, this did not make him give up his missionary ideal and on 3 December 1895 (the feast of St Francis Xavier) he inaugurated the Emilian Institute for Foreign Missions, which was officially recognised on 3 December 1898 as the Congregation of St Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions.   In the following March, it was with great joy that he handed over the cross to the first two Xaverian missionaries leaving for China – Fr Caio Rastelli and Fr Odoardo Mainini.HEADER WITH ST FRANCIS XAVIER st guido Conforti_Saverio_117mb-de150adc

The years following, he continued his activity as Vicar General in Parma until he was called by Pope Leo XIII to rule the Archdiocese of Ravenna.   On  11  June 1902, the day of his episcopal ordination, Conforti made religious vows together with a vow to devote himself unreservedly to the proclamation of the Gospel ad gentes.

Unfortunately, his poor health worsened and after only two years he had to give up the position of Archdiocese of Ravenna.   He returned to Parma to his Missionary Institute where he was able to follow the formation of young aspiring missionaries.   But new appointments awaited him -St Pope Pius X initially appointed him Coadjutor with the right to be successor to the Bishop of Parma, a diocese that he had been in charge of from 1907, nearly 25 years.   Religious education was the focal point of his pastoral commitment.   Faced with toils and hardships without number, he made the pastoral visit five times, celebrated two diocesan syods, and established and promoted Catholic Action, especially for young people.   He paid particular attention to the culture and holiness of the clergy, the formation of the laity, the Catholic associations, the Catholic press, missions to the people and Eucharistic, Marian and missionary guido artwork bangledesh branch -conforti-1024x956.png

Bishop Conforti combined new activities with the commitments of his episcopal office and of his Missionary Institute.   He was active in the diffusion of the Pontifical Mission Societies and collaborated with Blessed Fr Paolo Manna in the foundation of the Pontifical Missionary Union, becoming its first president.   In fact, Conforti believed that the proclamation of the Gospel ad gentes was the main road for the evangelisation of people.

In these years, he had the joy of sending Xaverian missionaries to China and of consecrating one of his missionaries, Fr Luigi Calza, Bishop of Cheng-Chow, to the Cathedral of Parma in 1912.   Another important date in the history of the Xaverian Institute was on 15 August 1921, Bishop Conforti finished his “Testament Letter (Rule)” that had been definitively approved by the Pope and presented it to the Xaverian Constitutions.   And in 1928, he went to China to visit his missionaries, confirming the bond of communion between the Church of Parma and the young church of western guido founder testata-onde-conforti-1024x956.png

When he returned to Parma, he resumed his pastoral activity but his health deteriorated. On 5 November 1931, after having received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum and having publicly professed his faith and implored God for his clergy and his people, Bishop Guido Maria Conforti fell asleep in the Lord.   His funeral was attended by all of Parma.   He was buried in the centre of the apse of the church of the motherhouse of the Xaverian Missionaries in Parma.

Guido Maria Conforti’s heroic virtues were approved by the decree on 11 February 1982, while the decree on the miracle that took place through his intercession in Burundi dates back to 6 April 1995.   Guido Maria Conforti was beatified by Saint John Paul II on 17 March 1996 and proclaimed a saint by Pope Benedict XVI on 23 October 2011.

Conforti is said to have provided the initiative behind Pope Benedict XV’s encyclical, Maximum illud, of 30 November 1919.   That document is called the Magna Carta of modern Catholic missionary work.San_guido_maria_conforti_in_fontanellato


Feast of the Holy Relics, All Saints and Blesseds of The Society of Jesus

Feast of the Holy Relics:

All Saints and Blesseds of The Society of Jesus:   The Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, was Founded in 1534 by Saint Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) at Montmartre, Paris, France.   A body of clerics regular organised for Apostolic work, following a religious rule and relying on alms for their support.   It was the chief instrument of the Catholic Reformation.   Pope Paul III approved the new rule in 1540 and Ignatius was elected the first general of the order in 1541.   The constitutions, drafted by him and based on his Spiritual Exercises were adopted in 1558.   It was the first order which enjoined by its constitutions devotion to the cause of education.   The ministry of the Society consists chiefly in preaching. teaching catechism, administering the sacraments, conducting missions in parishes, taking care of parishes, organising pious confraternities, teaching in schools of every grade, writing books, pamphlets, periodical articles, going on foreign missions and special missions when ordered by the current Holy Father, to whom they take a vow of total obedience.   Our current Holy Father, Pope Francis is a Jesuit and has jokingly wondered aloud who is boss of whom in his Order. The general resides at Rome, Italy and has a council of assistants.   The motto of the Society is Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the greater glory of God).

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St Augustine of Terracina
Bl Bernhard Lichtenberg
St Bertille
St Canonica
St Comasia
St Ðaminh Mau
St Dominator of Brescia
St Domninus the Physician
St Epistemis
St Eusebius of Terracina
St Felix of Terracina
St Fibitius
St Galation
St Gerald of Beziers
Bl Gomidas Keumurjian
Bl Gregory Lakota
St Guetnoco
St Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931)

St St Hermenegild
St Idda
St Juan Antoni Burró Mas
St Juan Duarte Martín
St Kanten
St Kea
St Laetus of Orleans
St Magnus of Milan
St Mamete
St Marco of Troia
Bl María del Carmen Viel Ferrando
Bl Simon Ballachi
St Spinulus of Moyen-Moûtier
St Sylvanus of Syria

Martyrs of Caesarea Maritima – 4 saints: Four young Christian men who were martyred together in the persecutions of Maximian – Aussenzius, Philotheus, Timothy and Theotimus. They were martyred in the arena at Caesarea Maritima, Palestine.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Juan Antoni Burró Mas
• Blessed Juan Duarte Martín
• Blessed María del Carmen Viel Ferrando