C. Catholic evangelist


Christopher Columbus, who sailed to America in 1492, was a Catholic layman. Perhaps he should get an award for being Christian Missionary Numero Uno.


In a letter he wrote to the king and queen of Spain in the 1490s, Columbus made recommendations for newly-discovered islands, including: “That there shall be a church, and parish priests or friars to administer the sacraments, to perform divine worship, and for the conversion of the Indians.”


His goal was to bring the holy Catholic faith to the New World. Columbus wrote:

“I informed your Highnesses the Great Khan and its predecessors had sent to Rome many times to beg for men learned in our Holy Faith, so that his people might be instructed therein, and that the Holy Father had never furnished them, and therefore, many peoples believing in idolatries and receiving among themselves sects of perdition were lost.

"Your highnesses, as Catholic Christians and Princes devoted to the Holy Christian faith and to the spreading of this faith, and as enemies of the Muslim sect and of all idolatries and heresies, ordered that I should go east, but not by land as is customary. I was to go by way of the west, whence until today we do not know with certainty that anyone has ever gone there. He sent me that I might bring the true faith to the Indians."


Columbus confessed his sins to Franciscan priests and was reported to have been clothed in the Franciscan garb arriving in the new land. He led his sailors in prayers to the Lord and to Mary and prayed the divine office daily. Columbus is believed to have been a third order secular member of the Franciscans, which were started by St. Francis of Assisi.

Columbus’ voyages were funded by the Catholic king and queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella




Christopher Columbus    Honoring Christopher Columbus   Christopher Columbus Lectures   Columbus’ letter to the King and Queen of Spain   More Letters from Columbus   Life of Christopher Columbus