Monday, April 28, 2014

St. Peter Chanel

Happy Feast of St. Peter Chanel!

St. Peter Chanel was both a priest and martyr of the Catholic Church.  (More specifically, he is a protomartyr of the South Seas.  Which is the first Christian martyr in a country of among a group, like a religious order.  St. Stephen was the original "Protomartyr," since he was the first martyr and St. Thecla, as the first female martyr.)  He was intelligent and possessed a simple piety.  His local priest taught him in elementary school and after he entered the seminary.  Both professors and other students had great respect and admiration for him.  His first assignment after becoming a priest was to a rundown country parish, which he revitalized in the short time he was there.  He soon jointed the Marists or Society of Mary to be put to work where his heart truly was, missionary work.  This group worked both at home and abroad.  Although this was his desire, he was assigned to teach as a seminary.  His dream would come true in 1836, when he was sent to the New Hebrides in the Pacific and he was appointed Superior of a band of missionaries sent there.  The brothers disbanded among the islands to better reach the inhabitants.  St. Peter and an English layman Thomas Boog went to Futuna to preach to a group who had only recently given up cannibalism (think this would have been my exiting point!)  The king and people received them well, until the kings jealousy was brought on by the missionaries learning of the language and gaining the people's confidence.  The king realized that Christianity would lead to the end of his reign as both high priest and king, which evidently had its perks.  The king's son wished to be baptized, which was the end of the king's patience with the missionaries.  He sent a group of warriors out to kill the missionary.  They clubbed him to death, which he took without complaint.  Within 5 month of his death, the entire island was converted to Christianity.

While we are always told, God does his work in his way I wonder if St. Peter Chanel would have signed up if he would have known the outcome.  I'm sure like all of the saints we have read about, he would have gladly taken this opportunity to serve the Lord in whatever manner he was called.  What do we take from St. Peter Chanel's story?  How can we bring his life into our own?  I believe he is calling us to live out our faith and spread the faith through all means necessary.  We may not be called to die for our faith, but we are called to evangelize regardless of what others may say or do in response.  While preparing for my son's first communion this past weekend, I ran across St. Paul Street Evangelization and wanted to share it with you. They are a group of Catholics who spread the Church everywhere, to anyone.  I WANT TO BE LIKE THEM.  Honestly, I don't feel like I have the knowledge to do it, but I am looking into this program.  How wonderful to be called to spread the church that Jesus instilled to all!  Consider this or in what way you can live out your faith and spread the Church.  Remember, we are all called to evangelize!

Here is a link to the Marist Fathers Novena for Vocations to the Society of Mary.  Remember to pray for vocations.

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