Highlights from the week online

How to transport a saint’s severed arm

The secular media was intrigued this week by St Francis Xavier’s severed right arm, which is travelling across Canada on a 14-city tour. “This might be the most goth thing the Catholic Church has allowed,” claimed Vice News, perhaps unaware of the range of weird and wonderful relics venerated by the People of God.

Canada’s CBC radio featured an interview with Angèle Regnier, co-founder of Ottawa’s Catholic Christian Outreach. She said she was “very nervous” about exposing the saint’s arm to Canadian temperatures. “I enlisted some women to make me a coat for him,” she said. In the end a church provided a foam-lined duffel bag.

Regnier said that St Francis would be an inspiration to Canadian university students, as the saint had a conversion experience at the University of Paris. “He was the cool guy. He was the athletic guy,” she said. “Probably partying more than doing his schoolwork.” But then he met St Ignatius of Loyola, who helped “bring him alive in his faith”.

A Protestant finds holiness in a sung Mass

Chaz Muth of Catholic News Service also told a conversion story – of one Gabe Bouck, who was pushed to become Catholic after hearing a Mass sung in Gregorian chant. “There was something about it that immediately brought to my mind, ‘I am experiencing something that is holy right now. There’s something very solemn and very reverent going on in a way that I have never experienced in a Protestant church,’ ” Bouck recalled.

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