A HOLY relic of St Francis Xavier was in Bendigo yesterday as part of a three-month Australian pilgrimage.
The relic is the preserved right arm of St Francis Xavier, with which he baptised thousands of people during his work across Africa, India and Asia, 450 years ago.
Bendigo’s Monsignor Frank Marriott said the Catholic Church considered Francis Xavier one of the greatest missionaries of his time.
Monsignor Marriott said the relic’s pilgrimage in Australia was part of the Year of Grace, a time for Catholics to renew their faith.
“The relic aims to honour his life and inspire others by his example,” he said.
The relic is based at the Chiesa Il Gesù (Church of the Gesù) in Rome, and is rarely moved.
This pilgrimage marks the first time it has been brought to Australia.
Local business Mulqueen Family Funeral Directors in conjunction with the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst helped coordinate the relic’s tour of the diocese. Mulqueen Family Funeral Directors manager Mark Mulqueen said it was a great honour to be a part of the spiritual tour.
“It’s very rare for the holy relic of St Francis Xavier to ever leave its resting place,” he said.
“This is an exceptional opportunity to offer support to our community and the Sandhurst Diocese.”
The relic was taken to its namesake church in East Bendigo yesterday, before it departed for the Sacred Heart Cathedral.