Feast of St. Peter Chanel (April 28)   Leave a comment

Wallis and Futuna

Above:  Wallis and Futuna

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1967)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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SAINT PETER CHANEL (JULY 12, 1803-APRIL 28, 1841)

Protomartyr of Oceania

Born Pierre Louis Marie Chanel

Each of us has a set of rules to fulfill in the project of glorifying God.  The question is how many of us will seek to fulfill those roles.  Even when one does this, the reality of what one’s roles are might prove surprising to one.

St. Peter Chanel was French.  He, the fifth of eight children of Claude-Francois and Marie-Anne Sibellas Chanel, worked as a shepherd prior to commencing studies at the parochial school at Montrevel-en-Brasse, Ain, in 1814.  Our saint, who made his first communion on March 23, 1817, developed a lifelong interest in foreign missions while still at home.  He continued his education at various church-run schools from 1819 to 1827.

Chanel became a priest in 1827.  He served briefly as assistant at Amberieu-en-Bugey before transferring to Crozet.  During his tenure of three years he revitalized that rural parish.  Yet our saint wished to become a missionary.  In 1831 Chanel joined the new Society of Mary (the Marists), a missionary order.  The Marists assigned him to serve as the spiritual director at the seminary at Belley for five years.

Chanel got his opportunity to serve as a missionary in 1836.  He became the superior of a group of seven Marish missionaries to the southwestern Pacific Ocean.  They arrived at Futura Island on November 8, 1837.  At first Niuliki, the local king, welcome them.  Our saint learned the local language well and began to have success converting people.  This fact made Niuliki, a priest-king, nervous.  He became hostile when his son, Meitala, requested baptism.  The king sent a warrior, Musumusu, to prevent that from happening.  Musumusu killed Chanel.  Niuliki’s efforts were in vain, for priests converted most of the population to Christianity within five months of ours saint’s martyrdom, dated April 28, 1841.

The Roman Catholic Church beatified Chanel in 1889 and canonized him in 1954.

Chanel did not live long enough to see most of the population of Futuna Island convert, but his efforts contributed to the fulfillment of that goal.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 17, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONY OF EGYPT, DESERT FATHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERARD AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN MOROCCO

THE FEAST OF EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS, UNITARIAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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Father, you called St. Peter Chanel to work for your Church

and gave him the crown of martyrdom.

May our celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection

make us faithful witnesses to the new life he brings,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Psalm 117

Mark 1:14-20

New Saint Joseph Weekday Missal–Complete Edition, Volume 1–Advent to Pentecost (2002), pages 983-984

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