St Gonsalo Garcia
Born in Vasai, Gonsalo Garcia was tutored by the Jesuits at Bassein Fort. He wanted to become a missionary, but was turned down because he was too young. As a teenager, he accompanied a Jesuit priest to Japan. Having learnt Japanese on the voyage, he turned out to be a popular catechist among the younger locals. He dreamed of becoming a Jesuit missionary, but on being refused, lost hope and a few years later, he moved to Alcao as a merchant.
His dream unfulfilled, he moved to the Philippines and worked with the Franciscans as a lay brother. A few years later, he was accepted by them as a Friar Minor. He was sent back to Japan as translator for a diplomatic delegation, and continued teaching Catechism there.
St Gonsalo Garcia was one of 26 falsely accused of sedition and crucified at Nagasaki. An example of missionary sacrifice, he was the first Indian to be declared a saint. He is the Principal Patron of the Diocese of Vasai, and Second Patron of the Archdiocese of Bombay.
There were hindrances along the way, but he persevered till the end. He hung in there to become a missionary, martyr and saint.
Extraordinary Missionary Month, October 2019