Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mon, Dec 3, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Candor, Psalms 122, Isaiah 2:1-5, Matthew 8:5-11, St Francis Xavier, Basque Country Spain, Shangchuan Islands and Taishan

Monday, December 3, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog:

Candor, Psalms 122, Isaiah 2:1-5, Matthew 8:5-11, St Francis Xavier, Basque Country Spain,  Shangchuan Islands and Taishan

Good Day Bloggers!  Happy Advent!
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!
Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone. The "Armageddon" is a pagan belief inspired by the evil one to create chaos and doubt in God. Trust in God, for He creates, He does not destroy and only God knows the hour of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ's second Coming, another chance at eternal salvation.  Think about how merciful God truly is as he keeps offering us second chances. He even gives the evil one a multitude of chances to atone. Simply be prepared by living everyday as a gift: Trust in God; Honor Jesus Mercy through the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist; and Utilize the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


December 2, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

Dear children, with motherly love and motherly patience anew I call you to live according to my Son, to spread His peace and His love, so that, as my apostles, you may accept God's truth with all your heart and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then you will be able to faithfully serve my Son, and show His love to others with your life. According to the love of my Son and my love, as a mother, I strive to bring all of my strayed children into my motherly embrace and to show them the way of faith. My children, help me in my motherly battle and pray with me that sinners may become aware of their sins and repent sincerely. Pray also for those whom my Son has chosen and consecrated in His name. Thank you." 

November 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

“Dear children! In this time of grace, I call all of you to renew prayer. Open yourselves to Holy Confession so that each of you may accept my call with the whole heart. I am with you and I protect you from the ruin of sin, but you must open yourselves to the way of conversion and holiness, that your heart may burn out of love for God. Give Him time and He will give Himself to you and thus, in the will of God you will discover the love and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call.” ~ Blessed Virgin Mary

November 02, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children, as a mother I implore you to persevere as my apostles. I am praying to my Son to give you Divine wisdom and strength. I am praying that you may discern everything around you according to God’s truth and to strongly resist everything that wants to distance you from my Son. I am praying that you may witness the love of the Heavenly Father according to my Son. My children, great grace has been given to you to be witnesses of God’s love. Do not take the given responsibility lightly. Do not sadden my motherly heart. As a mother I desire to rely on my children, on my apostles. Through fasting and prayer you are opening the way for me to pray to my Son for Him to be beside you and for His name to be holy through you. Pray for the shepherds because none of this would be possible without them. Thank you."
~ Blessed Virgin Mary


Today's Word:  candor  can·dor  [kan-der]

Origin:  1850–55;  < Greek:  custom, habit, character

1. the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness: The candor of the speech impressed the audience.
2. freedom from bias; fairness; impartiality: to consider an issue with candor.
3. Obsolete , kindliness.
4. Obsolete , purity.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 122:1-4, 8-9

1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of Yahweh.'
2 At last our feet are standing at your gates, Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem, built as a city, in one united whole,
4 there the tribes go up, the tribes of Yahweh, a sign for Israel to give thanks to the name of Yahweh.
8 For love of my brothers and my friends I will say, 'Peace upon you!'
9 For love of the house of Yahweh our God I will pray for your well-being.


Today's Epistle -  Isaiah 2:1-5

1 The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 It will happen in the final days that the mountain of Yahweh's house will rise higher than the mountains and tower above the heights. Then all the nations will stream to it,
3 many peoples will come to it and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the God of Jacob that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths.' For the Law will issue from Zion and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.
4 Then he will judge between the nations and arbitrate between many peoples. They will hammer their swords into ploughshares and their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, no longer will they learn how to make war.
5 House of Jacob, come, let us walk in Yahweh's light.


Today's Gospel Reading - Matthew 8, 5-11

When he went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. 'Sir,' he said, 'my servant is lying at home paralysed and in great pain.' Jesus said to him, 'I will come myself and cure him.'  The centurion replied, 'Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, "Go," and he goes; to another, "Come here," and he comes; to my servant, "Do this," and he does it.'  When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, 'In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of Heaven."

Today’s Gospel is a mirror. It reminds us of the words we say during the Mass at the moment of communion: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter my house, say but the word and I will be healed”.  Look at this text in the mirror, it suggests the following:
• The person who seeks Jesus is a pagan, a gentile, a soldier of the Roman army, which dominated and exploited the people. It is not religion nor the desire for God, but rather the need and the suffering which impels him to seek Jesus. Jesus has no prejudices. He does not demand anything first, he accepts and listens to the request of the Roman official.
• Jesus’ answer surprises the centurion, because it is beyond his expectation. The centurion did not expect that Jesus would go to his house. He feels unworthy: “I am not worthy”. This means that he considered Jesus a highly superior person.
• The centurion expresses his faith in Jesus saying: “Say only one word and my servant will be cured”. He believes that the word of Jesus is capable of healing. From where does he get this great faith? From his profession experience as a centurion! Because when a centurion gives an order, the soldier obeys. He has to obey! Thus he imagines Jesus: it is enough for Jesus to say one word, and things will happen according to his word. He believes the word of Jesus encloses a creative force.
• Jesus was surprised, astonished, and praises the faith of the centurion. Faith does not consist in accepting, repeating and decorating a doctrine, but in believing and trusting in the word of Jesus.

Personal questions
• Placing myself in the place of Jesus: how do I accept and listen to the persons of other religions?
• Placing myself in the place of the centurion: which is the personal experience that leads me to believe in Jesus?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:   Saint Bibiana

Feast Day:  December 3
Patron Saint: Roman Catholic missionaries in foreign lands.

St Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta (7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) was a pioneering Roman Catholic missionary born in the Kingdom of Navarre (now part of Spain) and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a student of Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits, dedicated at Montmartre in 1534. He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time. He was influential in the spreading and upkeep of Catholicism most notably in India, but also ventured into Japan, Borneo, the Moluccas, and other areas which had thus far not been visited by Christian missionaries. In these areas, being a pioneer and struggling to learn the local languages in the face of opposition, he had less success than he had enjoyed in India. It was a goal of Xavier to one day reach China.

Francis Xavier was born in the family castle of Xavier (Xabier, toponymic name whose origin comes from "etxaberri" meaning "new house" in the Basque language) in the Kingdom of Navarre on 7 April 1506 according to a family register. He was born to an aristocratic family of the Kingdom of Navarre, the youngest son of Juan de Jaso, privy counselor to King John III of Navarre (Jean d'Albret), and Doña Maria de Azpilcueta y Aznárez, sole heiress of two noble Navarrese families. He was thus related to the great theologian and philosopher Martín de Azpilcueta. Notwithstanding different interpretations on his first language, no evidence suggests that Xavier's mother tongue was other than Basque, as stated by himself and confirmed by the sociolinguistic environment of the time.

In 1512 under Ferdinand the Catholic as King of the first political unit referred to as Spain, joint Spanish troops from both the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon commanded by Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, second Duke of Alba, first invaded partially the Kingdom of Navarre. Three years later, Francis' father died when Francis was only nine years old. In 1516, after a failed Navarrese-French attempt to expel the Spanish invaders from the kingdom, an attempt in which Francis' brothers had taken part, the Spanish Castilian kingdom's Governor, Cardinal Cisneros, ordered family lands to be confiscated, the demolition of the outer wall, the gates and two towers of the family castle, the moat was filled, and the height of the keep was reduced in half. Only the family residence inside the castle was left.

For the following years with his family, till he left for studies in Paris in 1525, Francis' life in the Kingdom of Navarre, then partially occupied by Spain, was surrounded by a war that lasted over 18 years, ending with the Kingdom of Navarre being partitioned into two territories, and the King of Navarre and some loyalists abandoning the south and moving to the northern part of the Kingdom of Navarre (currently France).

In 1525, Francis went to study at the Collège Sainte-Barbe in Paris. There he met Ignatius of Loyola, who became his faithful companion, and Pierre Favre. While at the time he seemed destined for academic success in the line of his noble family, Xavier turned to a life of Catholic missionary service. Together with Loyola and five others, he founded the Society of Jesus: on 15 August 1534, in a small chapel in Montmartre, they made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and also vowed to convert the Muslims in the Middle East (or, failing this, carry out the wishes of the Pope). Francis went, with the rest of the members of the newly papal-approved Jesuit order, to Venice to be ordained to the priesthood, which took place on 24 June 1537. Towards the end of October, the seven companions reached Bologna, where they worked in the local hospital. After that, he served for a brief period in Rome as Ignatius' secretary.

Missionary work

Francis devoted much of his life to missions in Asia, after being appointed by King John III of Portugal to take charge as Apostolic Nuncio in Portuguese India, where the king believed that Christian values were eroding among the Portuguese. After successive appeals to the Pope asking for missionaries for the East Indies under the Padroado agreement, John III was enthusiastically advised by Diogo de Gouveia, rector of the Collège Sainte-Barbe, to draw the newly graduated youngsters that would establish the Society of Jesus.

Leaving Rome in 1540, Francis took with him a breviary, a catechism and a Latin book (De Instituione bene vivendi) written by the Croatian humanist Marko Marulić that had become popular in the counter-reformation. The breviary and the book by Marulić accompanied Xavier on all of his voyages, and was used as source material for much of his preaching. According to a 1549 letters of F. Balthasar Gago in Goa, it was the only book that Francis read or studied.

Goa and India

Conversion of the Paravars by Francis Xavier in Goa, in a 19th-century colored lithograph.
He left Lisbon on 7 April 1541 along with two other Jesuits and the new Viceroy Martim Afonso de Sousa, on board the Santiago. From August until March 1542 he remained in Portuguese Mozambique, having reached Goa, then capital of Portuguese India's on 6 May 1542, and also visiting Vasai. There he was invited to head Saint Paul's College, a pioneer seminary for the education of secular priests that became the first jesuit headquarters in Asia, but soon departed, having spent the following three years in India.

In 1542, he left for his first missionary activity among the Paravars, katesar/kadaiyar Pattamkattiyars (head of fishery coast) and mukkuvars, pearl fishers along the east coast of southern India, North of Cape Comorin (or Sup Santaz). He built nearly 40 churches along the coast with the fund of local headmen and king, out of this St. Stephen's Church, Kombuthurai find mention in his letters dated 1544. He lived in a sea cave in Manapad, intensively catechizing paravars and other children for three months in 1544. He then focused on converting the king of Travancore to Christianity and also visited Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka). Dissatisfied with the results of his activity, he set his sights eastward in 1545 and planned a missionary journey to Makassar on the island of Celebes (today's Indonesia).

As the first Jesuit in India, Francis had difficulty procuring success for his missionary trips. Instead of trying to approach Christianity through the traditions of the local religion and creating a nativised church as latter fellow Jesuit Matteo Ricci did in China, he was eager for change His successors, such as de Nobili, Ricci, and Beschi, attempted to convert the noblemen first as a means to influence more people, while Francis had initially interacted most with the lower classes (later though, in Japan, Francis changed tack by paying tribute to the Emperor and seeking an audience with him). However, Francis' mission was primarily, as ordered by King John III, to restore Christianity among the Portuguese settlers. Many of the Portuguese sailors had had illegitimate relationships with Indian women (miscegenation); Francis struggled to restore moral relations, and catechized many illegitimate children.


Voyages of St. Francis Xavier
After arriving in Portuguese Malacca in October of that year and waiting three months in vain for a ship to Makassar, he gave up the goal of his voyage and left Malacca on 1 January 1546, for Ambon Island where he stayed until mid-June. He then visited other Maluku Islands including Ternate and Morotai. Shortly after Easter, 1546, he returned to Ambon Island and later Malacca.

Francis Xavier's work initiated permanent change in eastern Indonesia, and he was known as the 'Apostle of the Indies' where in 1546-1547 he worked in the Maluku Islands among the people of Ambon, Ternate, and Morotai (or Moro), and laid the foundations for a permanent mission.  After he left the Maluku Islands, others carried on his work and by the 1560s there were 10,000 Catholics in the area, mostly on Ambon. By the 1590s there were 50,000 to 60,000.


Francisco Xavier asking John III of Portugal for an expedition.
In Malacca in December, 1547, Francis Xavier met a Japanese man named Anjirō. Anjirō had heard of Francis in 1545 and had traveled from Kagoshima to Malacca with the purpose of meeting with him. Having been charged with murder, Anjirō had fled Japan. He told Francis extensively about his former life and the customs and culture of his beloved homeland. Anjiro helped Xavier as a mediator and translator for the mission to Japan that now seemed much more possible. "I asked [Anjirō] whether the Japanese would become Christians if I went with him to this country, and he replied that they would not do so immediately, but would first ask me many questions and see what I knew. Above all, they would want to see whether my life corresponded with my teaching." Anjirō became the first Japanese Christian and adopted the name of 'Paulo de Santa Fe'. Europeans had already come to Japan: the Portuguese had already landed in 1543 on the island of Tanegashima, where they introduced the first firearms to Japan.

He returned to India in January 1548. The next 15 months were occupied with various journeys and administrative measures in India. Then, due to displeasure at what he considered un-Christian life and manners on the part of the Portuguese which impeded missionary work, he traveled from the South into East Asia. He left Goa on 15 April 1549, stopped at Malacca and visited Canton. He was accompanied by Anjiro, two other Japanese men, the father Cosme de Torrès and Brother João Fernandes. He had taken with him presents for the "King of Japan" since he was intending to introduce himself as the Apostolic Nuncio.

Shortly before leaving he had issued a famous instruction to F. Gaspar Barazeuz who was leaving to go to Ormuz (a kingdom on an island in the Persian Gulf, now part of Iran), that he should mix with sinners:
And if you wish to bring forth much fruit, both for yourselves and for your neighbors, and to live consoled, converse with sinners, making them unburden themselves to you. These are the living books by which you are to study, both for your preaching and for your own consolation. I do not say that you should not on occasion read written books . . . to support what you say against vices with authorities from the Holy Scriptures and examples from the lives of the saints.

A statue of Francis Xavier (middle) with his Japanese disciples Anjirō (left) and Bernardo (right), in Xavier Park (Kagoshima, Japan).
Francis Xavier reached Japan on 27 July 1549, with Anjiro and three other Jesuits, but he was not permitted to enter any port his ship arrived at[10] until 15 August, when he went ashore at Kagoshima, the principal port of the province of Satsuma on the island of Kyūshū. As a representative of the Portuguese king, he was received in a friendly manner. Shimazu Takahisa (1514–1571), daimyo of Satsuma, gave a friendly reception to Francis on 29 September 1549, but in the following year he forbade the conversion of his subjects to Christianity under penalty of death; Christians in Kagoshima could not be given any catechism in the following years. The Portuguese missionary Pedro de Alcáçova would later write in 1554:
In Cangoxima, the first place Father Master Francisco stopped at, there were a good number of Christians, although there was no one there to teach them; the shortage of laborers prevented the whole kingdom from becoming Christian.

He was hosted by Anjiro's family until October 1550. From October to December 1550, he resided in Yamaguchi. Shortly before Christmas, he left for Kyoto but failed to meet with the Emperor. He returned to Yamaguchi in March, 1551, where he was permitted to preach by the daimyo of the province. However, lacking fluency in the Japanese language, he had to limit himself to reading aloud the translation of a catechism.

Francis was the first Jesuit to go to Japan as a missionary. He brought with him paintings of the Madonna and the Madonna and Child. These paintings were used to help teach the Japanese about Christianity. There was a huge language barrier as Japanese was unlike other languages the missionaries had previously encountered. For a long time Francis struggled to learn the language. Artwork continued to play a role in Francis’ teachings in Asia. 

For forty-five years the Jesuits were the only missionaries in Asia, but the Franciscans also began preaching in Asia as well. Christian missionaries were later forced into exile, along with their assistants. Some were able to stay behind, however Christianity was then kept underground as to not be persecuted.

The Japanese people were not easily converted; many of the people were already Buddhist or Shinto. Francis tried to combat the disposition of some of the Japanese that a God who had created everything, including evil, could not be good. The concept of Hell was also a struggle; the Japanese were bothered by the idea of their ancestors living in Hell. Despite Francis' different religion, he felt that they were good people, much like Europeans, and could be converted.

Xavier was welcomed by the Shingon monks since he used the word Dainichi for the Christian God; attempting to adapt the concept to local traditions. As Xavier learned more about the religious nuances of the word, he changed to Deusu from the Latin and Portuguese Deus. The monks later realized that Xavier was preaching a rival religion and grew more aggressive towards his attempts at conversion.

The Altar of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines. St. Francis principal patron of the town, together with Our Lady of Escalera.
With the passage of time, his sojourn in Japan could be considered somewhat fruitful as attested by congregations established in Hirado, Yamaguchi and Bungo. Xavier worked for more than two years in Japan and saw his successor-Jesuits established. He then decided to return to India. Historians debate the exact path he returned back by, but due to evidence attributed to the captain of his ship, he may have traveled through Tanegeshima and Minato, and avoided Kagoshima due to the hostility of the Daimyo.

During his trip, a tempest forced him to stop on an island near Guangzhou, China where he saw the rich merchant Diogo Pereira, an old friend from Cochin, who showed him a letter from Portuguese being held prisoners in Guangzhou asking for a Portuguese ambassador to talk to the Chinese Emperor in their favor. Later during the voyage, he stopped at Malacca on 27 December 1551, and was back in Goa by January, 1552.

Casket of Saint Francis Xavier in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa
On 17 April he set sail with Diogo Pereira, leaving Goa on board the Santa Cruz for China. He introduced himself as Apostolic Nuncio and Pereira as ambassador of the King of Portugal. Shortly thereafter, he realized that he had forgotten his testimonial letters as an Apostolic Nuncio. Back in Malacca, he was confronted by the capitão Álvaro de Ataíde da Gama who now had total control over the harbor. The capitão refused to recognize his title of Nuncio, asked Pereira to resign from his title of ambassador, named a new crew for the ship and demanded the gifts for the Chinese Emperor be left in Malacca.

In late August, 1552, the Santa Cruz reached the Chinese island of Shangchuan, 14 km away from the southern coast of mainland China, near Taishan, Guangdong, 200 km south-west of what later became Hong Kong. At this time, he was only accompanied by a Jesuit student, Álvaro Ferreira, a Chinese man called António and a Malabar servant called Christopher. Around mid-November he sent a letter saying that a man had agreed to take him to the mainland in exchange for a large sum of money. Having sent back Álvaro Ferreira, he remained alone with António. He died at Shangchuan from a fever on 3 December 1552, while he was waiting for a boat that would agree to take him to mainland China.

Burials and relics

St. Francis Xavier's humerus. St. Joseph's Church, Macao
He was first buried on a beach at Shangchuan Island. His incorrupt body was taken from the island in February 1553 and was temporarily buried in St. Paul's church in Portuguese Malacca on 22 March 1553. An open grave in the church now marks the place of Xavier's burial. Pereira came back from Goa, removed the corpse shortly after 15 April 1553, and moved it to his house. On 11 December 1553, Xavier's body was shipped to Goa. The body is now in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2 December 1637.

The right forearm, which Xavier used to bless and baptize his converts, was detached by Pr. Gen. Claudio Acquaviva in 1614. It has been displayed since in a silver reliquary at the main Jesuit church in Rome, Il Gesù.

Another of Xavier's arm bones was brought to Macau where it was kept in a silver reliquary. The relic was destined for Japan but religious persecution there persuaded the church to keep it in Macau's Cathedral of St. Paul. It was subsequently moved to St. Joseph's and in 1978 to the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier on Coloane Island. More recently the relic was moved to St. Joseph's Seminary and the Sacred Art Museum.

In 2006, on the 500th anniversary of his birth, the Xavier Tomb Monument and Chapel on the Shangchuan Island, in ruins after years of neglect under communist rule in China was restored with the support from the alumni of Wah Yan College, a Jesuit high school in Hong Kong.


"The Vision of St. Francis Xavier", by Giovanni Battista Gaulli.
St. Francis Xavier is noteworthy for his missionary work, both as organizer and as pioneer. He is said to have converted more people than anyone else has done since Saint Paul. By his compromises in India with the Christians of St. Thomas, he developed the Jesuit missionary methods along lines that subsequently became a successful blueprint for his order to follow. His efforts left a significant impression upon the missionary history of India and, as one of the first Jesuit missionaries to the East Indies, his work is of fundamental significance to Christians in the propagation of Christianity in China and Japan. India still has numerous Jesuit missions, and many more schools. There has been less of an impact in Japan. Following the persecutions of Daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the subsequent closing of Japan to foreigners, the Christians of Japan were forced to go underground and developed an independent Christian culture.

Pope Benedict XVI said of both Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier: "not only their history which was interwoven for many years from Paris and Rome, but a unique desire — a unique passion, it could be said — moved and sustained them through different human events: the passion to give to God-Trinity a glory always greater and to work for the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ to the peoples who had been ignored." As the foremost saint from Navarre and one of the main Jesuit saints, he is much venerated in Spain and the Hispanic countries where Francisco Javier or Javier are common male given names. 

  The alternative spelling Xavier is also popular in Portugal, Brazil, France, Belgium, and southern Italy. In India, the spelling Xavier is almost always used, and the name is quite common among Christians, especially in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and more common in Goa. In Goa, Xavier besides being a surname, is also seen as the suffix in the names Francisco Xavier, António Xavier, João Xavier, Caetano Xavier, Domingos Xavier et cetera, which were very common till quiet recently. In Austria and Bavaria the name is spelled as Xaver (pronounced Ksaber) and often used in addition to Francis as Franz-Xaver. In English speaking countries, "Xavier" is one of the few names starting with X, and until recently was likely to follow "Francis"; in the last decade, however, "Xavier" by itself has become more popular than "Francis", and is now one of the hundred most common male baby names in the US.

Many churches all over the world have been named in honor of Xavier, often founded by Jesuits. One notable church is the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville, Iowa. The other is Mission San Xavier del Bac in Tucson, Arizona founded in 1692 and internationally recognized as the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States. The Javierada is an annual pilgrimage from Pamplona to Xavier instituted in the 1940s.

The Novena of Grace is a popular devotion to Francis Xavier, typically prayed on the nine days before 3 December. One of his relatives is John Sevier. The Sevier family name originated from the name Xavier. He has been depicted in various artworks, including Rubens' painting "St Francis Xavier raising the dead", which the Flemish master painted for a Jesuit church in Antwerp, and in which he depicted one of St Francis' many alleged miracles (in this case a resurrection).

Beatification and canonization

Francis Xavier is a Catholic saint. He was beatified by Paul V on 25 October 1619, and was canonized by Gregory XV on 12 March (12 April) 1622, at the same time as Ignatius Loyola. He is considered to be a patron saint of Roman Catholic missionaries in foreign lands. His feast day is 3 December.

Feast and pilgrimage centres

Stained glass church window in Béthanie, Hong Kong of St Francis Xavier baptizing a Chinese man.


The feast of Saint Francis Xavier is celebrated on 3 December. It is a large celebration in Velha Goa, Goa and beyond. In [INDIA] St. Francis Xavier is called Gõi-cho Saib (Master of Goa) and the place Velha Goa, is also called Saibachem Goem (St. Francis Xavier's Goa). In the year 2009, the theme of the feast was Sam Fransikachea Visvaxiponnachea Dekhin, Jezu-Noketra Bhaxen Porzollum-ia, which translates from Konkani into English as 'Inspired by the faithfulness of Saint Francis, let us shine like Jesus, the Star', probably based on the year's pastoral theme of the Archdiocese of Goa e Damão Noketram Bhaxen, Sonvsarant Porzollum-ia which translates into English as 'Shine like Stars, in the World'. The theme of the feast of Saint Francis Xavier, draws light from the Universal Church's declaration of 2009-10 as the Year for Priests. Similarly, the celebrations also reflected on the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman's focus on the youth that year. A huge pandal was erected in the front of the Bom Jesus Basilica, with almost eight to ten novena Masses daily mainly in Konkani, besides English, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Portuguese. The Archbishop, concelebrates the Solemn High Mass, with other bishops and numerous priests. In 2009, Bishop of Belgaum, Rt Rev Peter Machado will be the main celebrant.
In Velha Goa (Old Goa), Goa, India the novenas in the year 2011 began on 24 November. The theme of this year's feast was Mon'xa Xrixtticho Korar Jieum-ia, Sam Fransisk Xavierak Man Dium -Ya, based on the Archdiocese of Goa and Damão's archbishops pastoral letter, Mon'xa Xrixtticho Korar, Deva Mogacho Rupkar which in English roughly means "Covenant between Man and Nature Divine Love's Manifestation". Masses are being held, as in the last few decades, at the adr (front) of the Bom Jesus Basilica, due to lack of space within the Basilica. A large makeshift pandal has been put. It has a stage, where the altar is placed, and a background, on which the year's theme and St. Francis Xavier's picture has been prominently displayed. This year, on every Novena day, an element of nature is taken, like, water, land, fire, ether, etc. and a sermon is given on our day to day activities interaction with these elements and sometimes a relationship with the life of St. Francis Xavier is given.

This year besides the Masses, a programme called deepen your faith was conducted daily from 24 November to 1 December, after the 6 PM Novena Mass of St. Francis Xavier. It dealt with various Catholic teachings on the Bible testament-wise, Holy Eucharist, Confessions and finally will conclude with the life of St. Francis Xavier. Daily masses are being held at 6, 7.15, 8.15, 9.30, 10.30 in the mornings and at 1545 hours (3.45 PM), 5.15 and 6.15 in the afternoon and evening. The feast day masses on the third of December will be held at 4 AM, 5 AM, 6 AM, 7 AM, 8 AM, 9 AM, 10.30 AM, 12 noon, 3 PM (Spanish), 4 PM, 5 PM and 6 PM. The large number of masses are due to the large number of devotees who come from far and wide, cutting across religions. The 10.30 AM mass is the solemn feast high Mass, which will most likely be celebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop Salvatore Penacchio. This year masses are being held mainly in Konkanni, besides English, Marathi, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Portuguese and Spanish languages, but most, if not all the Masses, conclude with the recessional hymn Sam Fransisku Xaviera, Vhodda Kunvra (In English it roughly translates Our Saint Francis Xavier, Great Prince). A novena prayer to St. Francis Xavier is also held before the Mass generally. The mass at 6 PM on the feast day is celebrated by the Jesuits over the last few years.

Pilgrimage Centres

Saint Francis Xavier's relics are kept in a silver casket, elevated inside the Bom Jesus Basilica and are exposed (brought at ground level) generally every ten years, but is not a compulsion. The last exposition was held in 2004 for about one month during December. The next exposition is said to be held in the year 2014. Bones of Saint Francis Xavier are also found in the Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit) Church, Margão and in Sanv Fransiku Xavierachi Igorz (Church of St. Francis Xavier), Batpal, Canacona, Goa. Numerous people from Goa, India (mainly from the southern Indian states), south Asia and beyond visit Goa to attend the feast. Most of the Goans believe Goa is safe because they have St. Xavier with them.

Other places
Other pilgrimage centres include Saint Francis Xavier's birthplace in Navarra, Church of Il Gesu, Rome, Malacca (where he was buried for 2 years, before being brought to Goa), Sancian (Place of death) etc. The Javierada is an annual pilgrimage from Pamplona to Xavier instituted in the 1940s. In Magdalena de Kino in Sonora, Mexico in the Temple of Santa María Magdalena, there is an statue of San Francisco Xavier, an important historical figure for both Sonora and the neighboring U.S. state of Arizona. The statue is said to be miraculous and is the object of pilgrimage for many of the region.


  • Kirsch, Johann Peter. "St. Bibiana." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 4 Dec. 2012 <>.

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Today's  Snippet  I:  Basque Country

Xavier Castle,
Basque Country (Basque: Euskal Herria) is the name given to the home of the Basque people in the western Pyrenees that spans the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast. It is the oldest documented Basque name for the area they inhabit, dating to the 16th century and thus predates the emergence of Basque nationalism by at least two centuries. 
It comprises the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France.

Even though they are not necessarily synonyms, the concept of a single culturally Basque area spanning various regions and countries has been closely associated with the politics of Basque nationalism. As such, the region is considered home to the Basque people (Basque: Euskaldunak), their language (Basque: Euskara), culture and traditions. Nevertheless the area is neither linguistically nor culturally homogeneous, and the very Basqueness of parts of it, such as southern Navarre, remains contentious.

Territorial extent

The modern claim for the extent of the Basque Country, coined in the nineteenth century, is seven traditional regions. Some Basques refer to the seven regions collectively as Zazpiak Bat, meaning "The Seven [are] One".

Spanish Basque Country

The Spanish Basque Country (Spanish: País Vasco y Navarra, Basque: Hegoalde) includes two main regions: the Basque Autonomous Community (capital: Vitoria-Gasteiz) and the Chartered Community of Navarre (capital: Pamplona). The Basque Autonomous Community (7,234 km²)consists of three provinces, specifically designated "historical territories":

  • Álava (capital: Vitoria-Gasteiz)
  • Biscay (capital: Bilbao)
  • Gipuzkoa (capital: Donostia-San Sebastián)
In addition, some sources consider two enclaves as part of the Basque Autonomous Community:

  • Enclave of Treviño (280 km²), a Castilian enclave in Álava
  • Valle de Villaverde (20 km²), a Cantabrian enclave in Biscay
The Chartered Community of Navarre (10,391 km²) is a uniprovincial autonomous community. Its name refers to the medieval charters, the Fueros of Navarre. The Spanish Constitution of 1978 states that Navarre may become a part of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country if it was so decided by its people and institutions. To date, the results of regional elections have shown a clear rejection of this option. The ruling Navarrese People's Union has repeatedly asked for an amendment to the Constitution to remove this clause.

French Basque Country

The French Basque Country (Basque: Iparralde) is the western part of the French département of Pyrénées Atlantiques. In most contemporary sources it covers the arrondissement of Bayonne and the cantons of Mauléon-Licharre and Tardets-Sorholus, but sources disagree on the status of the village of Esquiule. Within these conventions, the area of Northern Basque Country (including the 29 km² of Esquiule) is 2,995 km².
The French Basque Country is traditionally subdivided into three provinces:

  • Labourd, historical capital Ustaritz, main settlement today Bayonne
  • Lower Navarre, historical capitals Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Saint-Palais, main settlement today Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
  • Soule, historical capital Mauléon (also current main settlement)
However, this summary presentation makes it hard to justify the inclusion of a few communes in the lower Adour region. As emphasized by Jean Goyhenetche, it would be more accurate to depict it as the reunion of five entities: Labourd, Lower Navarre, Soule but also Bayonne and Gramont.


According to some theories, Basques may be the least assimilated remnant of the Paleolithic inhabitants of Western Europe (specifically those of the Franco-Cantabrian region known as Azilian) to the Indo-European migrations. Basque tribes were mentioned by Greek writer Strabo and Roman writer Pliny, including the Vascones, the Aquitani and others. There is considerable evidence to show their Basque ethnicity in Roman times in the form of place-names, Caesar's reference to their customs and physical make-up, the so-called Aquitanian inscriptions recording names of people and gods (approx. 1st century, see Aquitanian language), etc.

Geographically, the Basque Country was inhabited in Roman times by several tribes: the Vascones, the Varduli, the Caristi, the Autrigones, the Berones, the Tarbelli and the Sibulates. Many believe that except for the Berones and Autrigones they were non-Indo-European peoples, the ethnic background of the most westerly tribes is not clear due to lack of information. Some ancient place-names, such as Deba, Butrón, Nervión, Zegama, suggest the presence of non-Basque peoples at some point in protohistory. The ancient tribes are last cited in the 5th century, after which track of them is lost, with only Vascones still being accounted for, while extending far beyond their former boundaries, e.g. in the current lands of Álava and most conspicuously around the Pyrenees and Novempopulania.

The Cantabri, encompassing probably present-day Biscay, Cantabria, Burgos and at least part of Álava and La Rioja, lived to the west of Vascon territory in the Early Middle Ages, but the ethnic nature of this people, often at odds with and finally overcome by the Visigoths, is not certain. The Vascones around Pamplona, after much fighting against Franks and Visigoths, founded the Kingdom of Pamplona (824), inextricably linked to their kinsmen the Banu Qasi. All other tribes in the Iberian Peninsula had been, to a great extent, assimilated by Roman culture and language by the end of the Roman period or early period of the Early Middle Ages (though ethnic Basques extended well east into the lands around the Pyrenees until the 9-11th centuries).

In the Early Middle Ages (up to the 9-10th centuries) the territory between the Ebro and Garonne rivers was known as Vasconia, a blurred ethnic area and polity struggling to fend off the pressure of the Iberian Visigothic kingdom and Muslim rule from the south and the Frankish push from the north. By the turn of the millennium, after Muslim invasions and Frankish expansion under Charlemagne, the territory of Vasconia (to become Gascony) fragmented into different feudal regions, e.g. the viscountcies of Soule and Labourd out of former tribal systems and minor realms (County of Vasconia), while south of the Pyrenees, besides the above Kingdom of Pamplona, Gipuzkoa, Álava and Biscay arose in the current lands of the Southern Basque Country from the 9th century onward.

These westerly territories pledged intermittent allegiance to Navarre in their early stages, but were annexed to the Kingdom of Castile at the end of the 12th century, so depriving the Kingdom of Navarre of direct access to the ocean. In the Late Middle Ages, important families dotting the whole Basque territory came to prominence, often quarreling with each other for power and unleashing the bloody War of the Bands, only stopped by royal intervention and the gradual shift of power from the countryside to the towns by the 16th century. Meanwhile, the viscountcies of Labourd and Soule under English suzerainty were finally annexed to France after the Hundred Years' War at the defeat of Bayonne in 1451.

In Navarre, the civil wars between the Agramontese and the Beaumontese paved the way for the Spanish conquest of the bulk of Navarre from 1512 to 1521. The Navarrese territory north of the Pyrenees remaining out of Spanish rule was formally absorbed by France in 1620. In the decades after the Spanish annexation, the Basque Country suffered attempts at religious, ideological and national homogenization, coming to a head in the 1609-1611 Basque witch trials at either side of the border of the kingdoms.
Nevertheless, the Basque provinces still enjoyed a great deal of self-government until the French Revolution in the Northern Basque Country, when the traditional provinces were reshaped to form the current Pyrénées-Atlantiques department along with Béarn. On the Southern Basque Country, the Charters were upheld up to the civil wars known as the Carlist Wars, when the Basques supported heir apparent Carlos and his descendants to the cry of "God, Fatherland, King" (the Charters finally abolished in 1876). The ensuing centralised status quo bred dissent and frustration in the region, giving rise to Basque nationalism by the end of the 19th century, influenced by European Romantic nationalism.

Since then, attempts were made to find a new framework for self-empowerment. The occasion seemed to have arrived on the proclamation of the 2nd Spanish Republic in 1931, when a draft statute was drawn up for the Southern Basque Country (Statute of Estella), but was discarded in 1932. In 1936 a short-lived statute of autonomy was approved for the Gipuzkoa, Álava and Biscay provinces, but war foiled any progress. After Franco´s dictatorship, a new statute was designed that resulted in the creation of the current Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre, with a limited self-governing status, as settled by the Spanish Constitution. However, a significant part of Basque society is still attempting higher degrees of self-empowerment (see Basque nationalism), sometimes by acts of violence. The French Basque Country, meanwhile, lacks any political or administrative recognition whatsoever, while a large number of regional representatives have lobbied to create a Basque department, to no avail.


The Basque Country has a population of approximately 3 million as of early 2006. The population density, at about 140/km² (360/sq. mile) is above average for both Spain and France, but the distribution of the population is fairly unequal, concentrated around the main cities. A third of the population is concentrated in the Greater Bilbao metropolitan area, while most of the interior of the French Basque Country and some areas of Navarre remain sparsely populated: density culminates at about 500/km² for Biscay but falls to 20/km² in the northern inner provinces of Lower Navarre and Soule.

A significant majority of the population of the Basque country live inside the Basque Autonomous Community (about 2,100,000, or 70% of the population) while about 600,000 live in Navarre (20% of the population) and about 300,000 (roughly 10%) in Northern Basque Country.

José Aranda Aznar writes[ that 30% of the population in the Basque Country Autonomous Community were born in other regions of Spain and that 40% of the people living in that territory do not have a single Basque parent.

Most of these peoples of Galician and Castilian stock arrived in the Basque Autonomous Community in the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century, as the region became more and more industrialized and prosperous and additional workers were needed to support the economic growth. Descendants of immigrants from other parts of Spain have since been considered Basque for the most part, at least formally.

Over the last 25 years, some 380,000 people have left the Basque Autonomous Community, of which some 230,000 have moved to other parts of Spain. While certainly many of them are people returning to their original homes when starting their retirement, according to anti-Basque nationalist sources there is also a sizable tract of Basque natives in this group who have moved due to a Basque nationalist political environment (including ETA's killings) which they perceive as overtly hostile. These have been quoted to be as high as 10% of the population in the Basque Community.

Biggest cities

  1. Bilbao 354,145 inhabitants (Basque Autonomous Community, BAC)
  2. Vitoria-Gasteiz 235,661 inhabitants (BAC)
  3. Pamplona 195,769 inhabitants (Navarre)
  4. Donostia-San Sebastián 183,308 inhabitants (BAC)
  5. Barakaldo 95,640 inhabitants (BAC)
  6. Getxo 82,327 inhabitants (BAC)
  7. Irun 60,261 inhabitants (BAC)
  8. Portugalete 49,118 inhabitants (BAC)
  9. Santurtzi 47,320 inhabitants (BAC)
  10. Bayonne 44,300 inhabitants (Pyrénées Atlantiques Department)

Non-Basque minorities in the Basque Country

Historical minorities

Various Romani groups existed in the Basque Country and some still exist as ethnic groups. These were grouped together under the generic terms ijituak (Gypsies) and buhameak (Bohemians) by Basque speakers.[citation need

  • The (C)agots also were found north and south of the mountains. They lived as untouchables in Basque villages and were allowed to marry only among themselves. Their origin is unclear and has historically been surrounded with superstitions. Nowadays, they have mostly assimilated into the general society.

  • The Cascarots were a Roma subgroup found mainly in the Northern Basque Country.

  • A subgroup of Kalderash Roma resident in the Basque Country were the Erromintxela who are notable for speaking a rare mixed language. This is based on Basque grammar but using Romani-derived vocabulary.

  • The Mercheros were Quinqui-speakers, travelling as cattle merchants and artisans. Following the industrialization, they settled in slums near big cities.
In the Middle Ages, many so-called Franks of Occitan language settled along the Way of Saint James in Navarre and Guipuscoa but were eventually assimilated. Navarre also held Jewish and Muslim minorities but these were expelled or forced to assimilate after the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. One of the outstanding members of such minorities was Benjamin of Tudela.

Recent immigration

Since the 1980s, as a consequence of its considerable economic prosperity, the Basque Country has received an increasing number of immigrants, mostly from Eastern Europe, North Africa, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and China, settling mostly in the major urban areas.


Currently, the predominant languages in the Spanish Basque Country and French Basque Country are, respectively, Spanish and French. In the historical process of forging themselves as nation-states, both Spanish and French governments have, at times, tried to suppress Basque linguistic identity. The language chosen for public education is the most obvious expression of this phenomenon, something which surely had an effect in the current status of Basque.

Despite being spoken in a relatively small territory, the rugged features of the Basque countryside and the historically low population density resulted in Basque being a historically heavily dialectalised language, which increased the value of both Spanish and French, respectively, as lingua francas. In this regard, the current Batua standard of the Basque language was only introduced by the end of the 20th century, which helped Basque move away from being perceived – even by its own speakers – as a language unfit for educational purposes.

While the French Republics –the epitome of the nation-state– have a long history of attempting the complete cultural absorption of ethnic minority groups —including the French Basques— Spain, in turn, has at most points in its history granted some degree of linguistic, cultural, and political autonomy to its Basques. Basques have been historically overrepresented both in the Spanish Marine and military ever since the time of the Spanish Empire until recently, same as Basque ports have been historically crucial to inland Spain. Until they became progressively undone starting with the Carlist Wars, these historical ties resulted in the generation of a local Basque bourgeoisie, clergy and military men, historically close to the Spanish Monarchy, especially in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. In all, there was a gradual absorption of Spanish language in the Basque-speaking areas of the Spanish Basque Country, a phenomenon initially restricted to the upper urban classes, but progressively reaching the lower classes. Western Biscay, most of Alava and southern Navarre have been Spanish-speaking (or Romance-speaking) for centuries.

But under the regime of Francisco Franco, the government tried to suppress the newly born Basque nationalism, as it had fought on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War in Gipuzkoa and Biscay. In general, during these years, cultural activity in Basque was limited to folkloric issues and the Roman Catholic Church, while a higher, yet still limited degree of tolerance was granted to Basque culture and language in Álava and Navarre, since both areas mostly supported Francoist troops during the war.

Nowadays, the Basque Country within Spain enjoys an extensive cultural and political autonomy and Basque is an official language along with Spanish. In Spain, it is favoured by a set of language policies sponsored by the Basque regional government which aim at the generalization of its use. It is spoken by approximately a quarter of the total Basque Country, its stronghold being the contiguous area formed by Guipúzcoa, northern Navarre and the Pyrenean French valleys. It is not spoken natively in most of Álava, western Biscay and the southern half of Navarre. Of a total estimation of some 650,000 Basque speakers, approximately 550,000 live in the Spanish Basque country, the rest in the French.

The Basque education system in Spain has three types of schools differentiated by their linguistic teaching models: A, B and D. Model D, with education entirely in Basque, and Spanish as a compulsory subject, is the most widely chosen model by parents. In Navarre there is an additional G model, with education entirely in Spanish.

In Navarre the ruling conservative government of Unión del Pueblo Navarro opposes Basque nationalist attempts to provide education in Basque through all Navarre (which would include areas where it is not traditionally spoken). Basque language teaching in the public education network is therefore limited to the Basque speaking north and central regions. In the central region, Basque teaching in the public education network is fairly limited, and part of the existing demand is served via private schools or ikastolak. Spanish is spoken by the entire population, with few exceptions in remote rural areas.

The situation of the Basque language in the French Basque Country is tenuous, where monolingual public schooling in French exert great pressure on the Basque language. Basque teaching is mainly in private schools, or ikastolak.


    • Trask, R.L. The History of Basque Routledge: 1997 ISBN 0-415-13116-2


    Today's  Snippet  IIShangchuan Island and Taishan

    Shangchuan Island, St Francis Xavier Church on hill
    Shangchuan Island (Chinese: 上川岛; pinyin: Shàngchuāndǎo) also written (Schangschwan, Sancian, Sanchão, Chang-Chuang or St. John's Island) is the main island of Chuanshan Archipelago on the southern coast of China. Its name originated from São João - Saint John in Portuguese. It is part of the Guangdong province, in the South China Sea. Located 14 km from the mainland, it is the largest island in the province which was formerly the island of Hainan which was carved out of Guangdong to became a province in 1988.
    The population of the island is 16,320.

    It is known in history for having been the place of death of St. Francis Xavier.

    Administratively, Shangchuan Town (上川镇) is one of the 20 towns of Taishan county-level city.


    Shangchuan Island was one of the first bases established by the Portuguese off the China coast, during the 16th century. They abandoned this base after the Chinese government gave consent for a permanent and official Portuguese trade base at Macau in 1557.  The Spanish (Navarre) Jesuit Catholic missionary St. Francis Xavier died there on December 2, 1552, on his way to Guangzhou, having died without ever reaching the mainland. 


    The island has been isolated from the mainland since the last ice age. It is located near Xiachuan Island, which lies west of Shangchuan. The two islands, together with smaller islet, form Chuanshan Archipelago. Shangchuan Town covers the main Shangshuan Island, as well as 12 islets. The total area of the town is 156.7 km². Shangshuan Island has an area of 137.3 km². The island has a 217 km long coastline.

    Towns include:
    • Dalangwan
    • Shadi (沙堤), a fishing port on the southwestern coast


    Shangchuan along with Xiachuan have been established as a Tourism Open Integrated Experimental Zones (旅游开发综合试验区, pinyin: lǚyóu kāifā zōnghé shìyàn qū). Feisha Beach Resort (飞沙滩旅游区) is a commercial tourist resort located on the island's eastern shore.


    Shangchuan Island is linked by ferry to Guanghai, Haiyan (Shanju) and Xiachuan Island.


    Taishan Chinese: 台山; pinyin: Táishān; Taishanese: Hoisan [hɔ̀isān]) is a coastal county-level city in southern Guangdong province, People's Republic of China. The city is part of the Greater Taishan Region.

    The city is located in the Pearl River Delta, southwest of Jiangmen (to which it administratively belongs) and 140 kilometers west of Hong Kong. It contains 95 islands and islets, including the largest island in Guangdong, Shangchuan Island. It is one of Five Counties in Guangdong (was called Sze Yup with excluding Heshan).

    Taishan is famous for being the birthplace of Chinese volleyball, that was brought to Taishan by overseas Chinese, and the city won many provincial and national championships. The city is also famous for being one of the birthplaces of Guangdong music, the other being Guangzhou.

    One quarter of the “Flying Tigers”, the legendary group of American airmen who fought the Japanese during the Second World War before the US entered it, came from Taishan.

    County history

    On February 12, 1499 in the 12th year of the reign of the emperor Hongzhi during the Ming Dynasty, Taishan was founded as Xinning County (Chinese Postal Map Romanisation: Sunning County; Chinese: 新宁县) from land in the southwest of Xinhui County. Xinning has also been romanized as Sinning, Hsinning, Hsînnîng, and Llin-nen. From 1854 to 1867 a civil war broke out mainly in Taishan County between the Punti and Hakka people with disastrous results for both sides. In 1914, Xinning was renamed Taishan to avoid confusion with the Xinnings of Hunan and Sichuan. Unfortunately it is now confused in English with Taishan (Mount Tai) in Shandong Province.In March 1941, Japanese soldiers invaded Taishan's capital and killed nearly 280 people. 

    On April 17, 1992, Taishan's status was upgraded from county (县) to county-level city (县级市).
    In 2010, parts of the movie Let the Bullets Fly were filmed in Taishan.

    Overseas Taishanese history

    Owing to natural disasters and the colonization, Taishanese started to search for new lives overseas after the First Opium War. The migration of Taishanese to North America started with the Gold Rush. Many Taishanese came to California as contract labourers. Later, another peak happened during the construction of the transcontinental railways in the United States and Canada. In 1870, there were 63,000 Chinese in the United States, almost all in California. Due to discrimination and language barriers, the first Chinatown formed to allow Taishanese (or Chinese) to live along and help each other.


    Taishan is accessible by bus and hydrofoil ferry (require bus connection, ferry is not direct service). There is a bus station in Taicheng and a port at GongYi on the Tan River which flows into the Pearl River Delta. The ferry service from HK to GongYi has been discontinued. Taicheng is the center of Taishan,people shopping and have education here. Many school and stores around this area, people love living here.

    Up until the Japanese War, there was a limited railway system constructed by Chen Yixi linking various parts of Taishan with Jiangmen. It was one of only three built, owned and run by Chinese during the years prior to the Communist Revolution of 1949.

    Ferry service connects the mainland part of the Taishan county-level city with the islands of Shangchuan, which are also part of the same county-level city. The Shangchuan ferry runs from the Shanzui Harbor (山咀港) in Chuandao Town on the mainland to the Sanzhou Harbor (三洲港) on the Shangchuan island. There is also daily ferry service between Shangchuan's Sanzhou Harbor and the nearby Xiachuan Island (also part of Taishan county-level city). 


    The main language of Taishan is Taishanese. While most Taishanese today use Mandarin in school or formal occasions, Taishanese is the de facto language. Schools require their students to speak Mandrian in the classroom, and teachers are required to lecture in Mandarin. Taishanese is a dialect of Yue Chinese, a large group which includes, but is broader than, Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Thus Cantonese and Taishanese are related but distinct. Before the 1980s, Taishanese was the predominant Chinese language spoken throughout North America's Chinatowns. Cantonese (Guangdonghua) is also widely known in Taishan, as it serves as lingua franca of Guangdong Province.


    Today, there are over 2.3 million Taishanese worldwide; some 1.3 million people living overseas can trace their ancestry to Taishan, outnumbering those who now live in Taishan by 1 million. Many Taishanese all over the world because they want to make a living outside Taishan and have better life.

    If considering the total Greater Taishan Region or Sze Yap Region, which includes Kaiping, Xinhui, Enping and Taishan, there is about 8 to 9 Million Taishanese people worldwide. According to American historian Him Mark Lai, approximately 430,000 or 70% of Chinese Americans in the 1980s were Taishanese according to 1988 data. Currently some 500,000 Chinese Americans claim Taishanese origins.

    Taishan has a population of 1 million, while 1.3 million overseas Taishanese distributing in 91 countries and regions. It is estimated that over 75% of all overseas Chinese in North America until the mid- to late-20th century claimed origin in Taishan, the city is also known as the "Home of Overseas Chinese." As late as 1988, those with ancestry from Taishan accounted for 70% of Chinese Americans. An office of the local Taishan Bureau of Overseas Chinese can help to arrange visits of overseas Chinese people.