Making headlines this month:
- Potential cause makes digital leap into the 21st century
- Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago takes historic step
- New decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
- Focolare movement seeks to start founder’s beatification cause
- Paul VI’s cause takes huge step toward beatification
- Miracle attributed to American venerable approved
- Bl. John Paul II’s lay friend is closer to beatification
Potential cause makes digital leap into the 21st century
With many beatification and canonization causes, efforts to reach out to devotees or enable devotees to reach them are limited to a postal address in some obscure town in some far away country. At best one might find a website. It is extraordinary to find a Facebook “Like” page or even a Twitter account.
However, the potential cause of Fr. Aloysius Ellacuria, C.M.F. (potential because it has not been introduced yet) has made a unique foray into the realm of social media.
On December 1, 2013, the people behind the miracle working priest’s probable cause held a webinar to discuss the forthcoming book, called The Fatima Protocol: Father Aloysius In His Words.
The webinar was the first in what organizers promise will be a “series addressing growing interest in Father Aloysius, his life and his work. This series is part of a campaign for the promotion of” the cultus of Aloysius.
Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago takes historic step
For the first time ever, the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago has introduced a beatification cause. After receiving permission from the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, the archdiocese launched a campaign to beatify Archbishop Anthony Pantin, CSSp.
Born in 1929 in Port-of-Spain, he was a bright student as a young man, winning a full academic scholarship to the prestigious St. Mary’s College, where he excelled not only as a scholar but as an athlete, as well.
However, at age 17, he discerned a call to the priesthood, something he had first heard as an altar boy in his local parish church.
He did his minor seminary years in Montreal, Canada, and then completed his theological education in Dublin, Ireland. He received Holy Orders in 1955.
Pope Paul VI made him the eighth archbishop of Port-of-Spain in 1967, receiving his episcopal consecration in 1968, and he held that post for 32 years until his death in 2000. His reign was marked by a tremendous outreach to and care for the poor.
New decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
On Monday, December 9, Pope Francis received Angelo Cardinal Amato, SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved the following decrees presented by His Eminence.
A miracle attributed to Ven. Giovannina Franks, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Nurses. This means she will become blessed.
That the Servants of God, Mario Vergara (a professed priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) and Isidore Ngei Ko Lat (a lay catechist) were killed in hatred of the faith at Shadaw, Burma, in 1950, and thus qualify as martyrs. This means they will automatically be considered blessed.
The Holy Father also confirmed the heroic virtues of:
- Servant of God Maria Matteo Maurizio Garrigou, Priest, Founder of the Institute of Our Lady of Compassion
- Servant of God Clemente (nee Vincent Fuhl), a professed priest of the Order of St. Augustine
- Servant of God Marcello of the Virgin of Carmel (nee Boldizsár Marton), a professed priest of the Order of Discalced Carmelites
- Servant of God Roman Bottegal, a professed Trappist priest
- Servant of God Rosalia Cadron-Jetté (in religion: Mother of the Nativity), founder of the Sisters of Mercy
- Servant of God Maria Rosa Teresa Gay Tibau, founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Gerona
- Servant of God Maria Oliva of the Mystical Body (nee Maria Oliva Bonaldo ), foundress of the Institute of the Daughters of the Church
- Servant of God Orsola Mezzini, professed religious and Superior General of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Mission for the Deaf and Dumb
- Servant of God Maria Scholar of Divine Providence (nee Maria Orsola Rivata ), professed religious and first Superior General of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master
- Servant of God Raphael Cordero Molina, layman , born in San Juan de Puerto Rico, d. July 5, 1868
Then on Wednesday, December 18, the Congregation announced Pope Francis had approved the decree of heroic virtues for the Servant of God Emanuele Herranz Estables, a Spanish diocesan priest and founder of the Religious Handmaids of Our Lady of Sorrows (1880-1968).
Focolare movement seeks to start founder’s beatification cause
Maria Voce, president of the Focolare movement, has petitioned Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati, Italy, to open of a diocesan inquiry into the life and holiness of the movement’s foundress, Chiara Lubich.
Lubich died in 2008, so the requisite five years period following her death have passed.
Born in 1920, she took private vows in 1943 consecrating herself to God. She formed around herself a group of friends to read the Gospels together. This group ultimately became a religious community that shared everything in common. Their desire was to form a facsimile of a family around a hearth, the word for which in Italian is “focolare.”
According to the Boston Pilot, “The lay movement aims to promote world unity through the living witness of Christian love and holiness in the family and small communities.”
Focolare now “has more than 2 million members and associates in 182 countries.”
“Retired Pope Benedict XVI said Lubich was a ‘woman of fearless faith.’”
“Blessed John Paul II appointed Lubich to serve as an observer at four synods of bishops in the 1980s and 1990s, and she served as a consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Laity.”
Paul VI’s cause takes huge step toward beatification
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Ven. Pope Paul VI, who reigned from 1963 through his death in 1978.
Pope Paul was best remember as the pontiff who closed the Second Vatican Council and who issued the landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae, which affirmed the Church’s 2,000-year-old teaching concerning contraception.
Many have objected to his cause because they say the Church declined on his watch. Regardless of the validity of that assertion, it’s important to remember a beatification or canonization cause seeks to determine whether someone was holy, not whether they were good at their job or supremely gifted in this area or that. And by all accounts, Paul VI was a remarkably holy man.
The miracle in question concerns a woman whom doctors urged to abort her baby because in utero tests showed the child had potentially brain damaging health problems. The mother prayed for the late pontiff’s intercession, and the child was born perfectly healthy. Doctors waited until the child reached adolescence to make sure there were no health problems, which there weren’t.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints medical commission says there is no earthly explanation for why the child’s health problems utterly disappeared.
The Pope and the Congregation’s theological commission still has to approve the miracle. Once this happens, Paul will be declared blessed in relatively short order.
Miracle attributed to American venerable approved
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Holy Father have approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Sr. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich. She was an American native of Bayonne, NJ, and a sister of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth. The daughter of Slovak immigrants, she went to college, graduated with honors as a literature major and taught before entering her order. She continued to teach even after entering the order, and even wrote spiritual conferences to give later that have been compared to St. Therese’s Story of a Soul for their richness, depth, and beauty. However, she became ill and died at age 26 before she could ever give them.
Her order says she is a candidate for beatification “because of her saintly life, her striving for perfection in her religious life, her spiritual writings, the mystical privileges accorded her by God during life, and the favors received by others after her death through her intercession with God.”
Bl. John Paul II’s lay friend is closer to beatification
On Wednesday, December 18, Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Polish layman and father Jerzy Ciesielski.
Ciesielski, who resembled actor James Cromwell, met the then-future pope when Wojtyła served as spiritual direct for a group of his university students when he was a professor.
According to Italian journalist Giorgio Bernadelli, Jerzy Ciesielski was born in Krakow in 1929, nine years after Wojtyła. This age difference meant that Ciesielski met Wojtyła when the former was studying at the Polytechnic University of Krakow and the latter was till a young chaplain. Ciesielski spent much of his university life attending meetings at the Basilica of St. Florian’s Church and in the Środowisko, the circle of students that met regularly with Fr. Karol. Ciesielski, who had been a scout as a youngster, shared two great passions with Wojtyła: the mountains and canoeing. It was in the Środowisko group that he met his wife Danuta whom he married in 1957. Wojtyła was celebrant at their wedding.
“Fr. Karol came with us on trips, to concerts, to the theatre and the cinema,” Danuta explained a while back, recalling the atmosphere of that group. “We talked during excursions, around the fire and at organized meetings which took place in our homes. We had long one-to-one conversations with him about relationship problems and married life. To this day I have no idea how he found the time.”
Ciesielski firmly believed lay people were called to become saints. He considered marriage as the sacramental path towards the fulfilment of life as a couple. He also said work was an essential part of a person’s vocation.
He was a firmly committed member of the Focolare movement, and it was his commitment to the movement’s ideals that led him to accept a teaching assignment at the University of Khartoum, in Sudan. This is how he came to be taking a vacation boat ride on the Nile in 1970. The boat overturned and sunk. Jerzy and his youngest children were taking naps in their cabin, and thus sank with the boat.