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Monday 23 May |
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Saint of the Day: St. Joseph Freinademetz

“Make disciples of all nations”

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Divine Word Priest and Missionary (1852-1908)

His life

+ Joseph was born in 1852 into a large family in town of Badia in the Austrian Empire (now part of Italy). After he completed his theological studies, he was ordained a priest in 1875. He was assignment was in a small parish not far from his family’s home.

+ During his years in seminary, Joseph began to feel called to dedicate his life to the Church’s foreign missions. He eventually contacted Saint Arnold Janssen, the founder of the recently formed Society of the Divine Word and, with the permission of his bishop, he entered the Society in 1878.

+ After professing his vows as a Divine Word Missionary, Joseph was sent to his community’s missions in Hong Kong. After two years, he and his missionary companion, Johann Baptist von Anzer, moved to the region of the Province of Shantung, China. At the time, there were only 158 baptized Christians in a population of more than 12 million people.

+ Joseph was very active in training Chinese laymen and priests. He wrote a catechism in Chinese and worked tirelessly to promote the Christian Faith until failing health forced him to travel to Japan for rest and recuperation. He returned to China in 1907 but contracted typhus during an epidemic the following year.

+ Joseph died on January 28, 1908, was buried in his mission at Daijiazhuang beneath the twelfth station of the Way of the Cross.

+ Saint Joseph Freinademetz was canonized with Arnold Janssen in 2003.

For prayer and reflection

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”—Matthew 28:19-20a

Prayer

O God, who gave increase to your Church through the zeal for religion and apostolic labors of blessed Joseph, grant, through his intercession, that she may always receive new growth in faith and in holiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors-For a Missionary)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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