By PR. PATRICK O'CONNOR,
Across 400 years and 15,000 miles the right hand of St. Francis Xavier reaches out again to ,ouch the handiwork of Xavier.
. Tonight a reliquary containing the right arm of the St. Francis Xavier arrived here from Rome for celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the Saint's coming to JaNin.
Sunday next, May 29, will see the beginning of the celebrations in Nagasaki. the old Christian centre, scene of sixteenth-century martyrdoms and target of the twentiethcentury atom bomb. Taking the form of a pilgrimage, the celebrations will last two weeks, reaching their climax on Sunday, June 12, with a Pontifical Mass in 1 okyo's %est Meiji Stadium,
All Japan is interested in the centenary. Even non-Christians realise the historic significance of Xavier's coming to Japan in the year of 1549. He was the first. Christian missionary to enter Japan. He was the first to introduce Japan to the outside world and the outside world to
The Japanese recognise that the Faith he planted here has survived with marvellous vitality and heroic fruits, wherein even non-Christians take pride. The foremost pilgrim is Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, who is representing Pope Pitts XII as Papal Legate, Accompanied by five other Australians, the Papal Legate arrived at lwakuni, in the British occupation zone, by Royal Australian Air Force plane on May 23. Lieut.-General Robertson, commanding the British occupation forces, designated six representatives, headed by the Rev. Eugene Hogan, Colonel-Chaplain, to meet Cardinal Gilroy and accompany him to Tokyo, and throughout the pilgrimage.
United States pilgrims are led by Bishop Thomas I. McDonnell, but Spanish pilgrims bringing the relic of Xavier, are the largest national group.
Cardinal Gilroy will officiate at the opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon, May 29, on the hill between Nagasaki and the Catholic settlement of Urakami, where the atom bomb dropped.
The pilgrims will go by train and bus to the principal towns and cities associated with Xavier's crowded 27-month apostotate to Japan. In Kagoshima, where he landed in August of 1549, they will begin a Novena of Grace on May 31. The fourth day of the Novena will find them amid the ruins and newtimbered houses that is now Hiroshima, Cardinal Gilroy is all the more welcome because of his kindliness, shown on a previous visit to Japan in 1946. His visit to Nagasaki means a reunion of two former fellow stud ents. The Cardinal and Bishop Paul Yamaguchi of Nagasaki were classmates in Rome.
Popular imagination here has been captured by the coming of the relic. The celebrations will certainly increase interest in today's living, growing missions, founded by this enshrined hand which first raised the crucifix and poured baptismal water in Japan.