Monday, February 14, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO FERNÁNDEZ DE CAPILLAS: Priest and Protomartyr of China

Saint Francis Ferdinand of Capillas
1607 - 1648
Canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul II

Feast day: 15 January

Protomartyr of China

Francis was born in Baquerin de Campos, Palencia, Spain on 14 August 1607.

He entered the Dominican priory of Saint Paul in Valladolid.

He arrived in Manila in February 1632 where he was ordained a priest and said his first mass before the image of the Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario in the Old Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros, of which he has a special devotion.

Thereafter he was assigned to Nueva Segovia or Cagayán until 1641 when he attended the Provincial Chapter held in Manila and asked the new Provincial to give him permission to evangelize China.

In 1642, with his friend Fr. Francisco Díaz, he arrived in Fukien, China. The saint went to all the towns and villages in Fogan and Funing converting huge numbers of Chinese.

He was captured and remained incarcerated for two months. After undergoing much tortured he was eventually beheaded on 15 January 1648.

Pope Benedict XIV proclaimed him the Protomartyr of China on 16 September 1748.

Pope Pius X beatified him on 2 May 1909 and Pope John Paul II canonized him on 1 October 2000.

The souls of the saints who followed Christ in His footsteps now rejoice in heaven, and because they shed their blood for his love will reign with Christ forever.

V. Pray for us Blessed Francis and Companions,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
O God, You gave us an outstanding example of faith and fortitude in the glorious martyrdom of Blessed Francis and his companions; grant, we beseech you, that, through their prayers and example we may strongly resist the adversities of this world and be found persevering in the confession of the true faith. This we ask through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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