ST FRANCIS Xavier Catholic Church in Goodna has housed a holy relic on a rare tour away from its historic home.
The relic, the right forearm of St Francis Xavier, began its tour of Australia in Sydney on September 16 and will return to Sydney before its return to Rome on December 4.
It arrived in Goodna at 2pm yesterday and is scheduled to leave at 9am today.
The significance of the relic is it is the arm with which St Francis Xavier baptised and blessed people and held the hands of the sick and dying.
Yesterday, at the church named in his honour, schoolchildren, teachers and parents gazed at the relic in wonder and awe.
They filed up to the front of the church in pairs to look at the relic.
It is contained in a sealed plexiglass box surrounded by Australian timber.
Father Richard Shortall, who is travelling with the relic, said that after St Francis Xavier died on an island off the south coast of China, the Jesuits on Malacca decided to retrieve his body.
In 1614, Fr Shortall said, the Jesuits in Rome decided they wanted part of his body to go on display.
"It is a huge joy to bring the relic to a church named after St Francis Xavier," Fr Shortall said.
George Hartnett Funerals arranged transport during the relic's visit to the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
- St Francis Xavier (1506-1552) was co-founder of the Jesuit Order and patron saint of Australia until 1976 when Australia ceased to be categorised as a mission country.
- His statue is in many Catholic churches and there are two cathedrals named after him.
- It is very rare for the relic of St Francis Xavier to leave Rome.