Not a very familiar name! Not a parishioner! Not even a South African.
FXS (we can call him) was a Bavarian Redemptorist who spent his life working for German migrants in the United States of America.
He joined the Redemptorists when he was 23 years of age (in 1842) and was ordained in Baltimore, Maryland, when he was 25. He died of yellow fever at the age of 48.
During his missionary life in the United States he worked for German migrants and preached parish missions in Pittsburg, Annapolis, Detroit and finally in New Orleans, where he succumbed to Yellow Fever.
I mention him because on Oct 5th Redemptorists round the world celebrate the feast of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. He is of interest to the whole Church because of the dedicated way he worked for the migrants of his own time. Of course Pope John Paul beatified him for his holiness and as an example for the whole Church of the importance of ministry to migrants.
Personally FXS was a gentle and joyful person, fully committed to his vocation in a Redemptorist community reaching out to those in greatest need. For us in South Africa, the life of FXS offers a challenge. We are hosts to innumerable migrants from all over the continent and we are being called not only to minister to them but also to learn from them. We expect them to adapt to our ways, but we must also adjust to their ways as well.
We are blessed in this parish to have many migrants who enhance our parish life. It is good that they can worship in their own language on Sunday afternoons but it is also important that they be more and more incorporated into the life of the parish. I am delighted that they are able to provide music for our 9 a.m. Mass when there is a 5th Sunday in the month. I look forward to closer and closer co-operation.
I commend us all to the prayers and intercession of Blessed FXS.
Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.