“In such a difficult mission, one must be holy.” These are the words spoken by Saint Peter Chanel, whose feast day we celebrate today. Saint Peter, born in France, joined the Marists brothers and traveled to the Pacific Island of Futuna to serve as a missionary.
He was martyred for the faith on 1841. Even though he faced many severe difficulties, he never abandoned his mission. Rather, he lived the words quoted above each day. It was by his faithful witness, personal holiness and death, he brought the Christian faith to the people of Futuna and beyond.
I often reflect upon the words of Saint Peter because I marvel at how difficult at times it is to bear witness to Christ in our own world. While we enjoy many worldly comforts, our society has become indifferent and at times even hostile to the message of Christ. And while we seek to create programs of outreach and invitation, it seems to me that the best way to evangelize and invite people to faith is precisely by the holiness of our lives. It will be our authentic witness, lived in true holiness, that will convert the world, one person at a time!
Saint Peter Chanel, pray for us as the next group of missionaries who wish to follow your example.