Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Friday, June 3, 2011

Beatification and sainthood causes news over the last month

On April 27, the positio for Salesian Br. Stefano Sándor, who was martyred in Hungary in hatred for the faith on June 8, 1953. It's an amazing story that really is worth taking the time to read.

At a May 7 Mass in Naples, Angelo Cardinal Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints beatified Fr. Justino Russolillo (1891-1955), founder of the Vocationist fathers and sisters.

The diocesan phase of the beatification cause for Mother Rosario Pidal Arroyo, great grandaunt of Filipino First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, has finished and been forwarded to Rome by the Filipino bishops’ conference. Mother Rosario was the foundress of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary.

On May 13, a group of recovering alcoholic women started the beatification cause for Sr. Ignatia Gavin, who is known as the “Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous.” According to the cause’s Facebook fan page, “As patients left St. Thomas Hospital [for alcoholics] in Akron, Ohio, USA, Sr. Ignatia would present them with a Sacred Heart of Jesus badge and ask for a promise. Before picking up another drink, they were to return the badge to Sr. Ignatia personally. The badge was a sacred pledge and symbol of the treasure of sobriety. Patients respected the trust Sr. Ignatia had in them and valued the gift as a commitment to stay sober.”

On May 15, Fr. Georg Häfner (1900-42), a Carmelite parish priest who perished of malnutrition at Dachau, became Bl. Georg Häfner at the cathedral in Wuerzburg, Germany. According to, “Fr. Häfner refused to make the Hitler salute and continued to teach religion classes in defiance of Nazi authorities. The Vatican has declared his death to be a martyrdom.”

Sr. Dulce Lopes Pontes (1914-92), a nun who served the poorest of the poor, was beatified Sunday, May 22, at a Mass attended by some 70,000 Brazilians, including President Dilma Rousseff.

One bit of news about which I’m particularly happy is this Sunday’s (June 5) beatification of Juan de Palafox, the late bishop and governor of New Spain, better known as Mexico. The Holy See called it “one of the most complex [sainthood] causes in the history of the Church.” To show just how long canonization causes can take, Bl. Palafox’s cause was opened by Benedict XIII in 1726. He was a great man, and if I could afford to fly to Spain for the event, I would be there. Read his story, and you'll see why I say this.

This Sunday, June 5, in Quincy, IL, at 3pm Central, there will be a memorial Mass at St. Peter Catholic Church to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Servant of God Francis Tolton’s ordination. Tolton was the one of the first black priests in the US, and Francis Cardinal George recently launched his beatification cause.

Rabbi Eric A. Silver, a retired rabbi in Connecticut, has taken up the effort to have Pope Ven. Pius XII declared a “righteous Gentile.” He says the records prove this, and he is going around talking with whoever he can to make the case that Pius was a great friend of the Jews.

According to, “Despite the ban imposed by authorities, thousands of Catholics took part in the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sheshan on May 11 to mark the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, established by Benedict XVI and hampered by the government.... On that occasion, the bishop had wanted to announce to the faithful that the Holy See accepted the cause of beatification of the first convert of Shanghai, Paul Xu Guangqi (at the time of Matteo Ricci), but was forbidden by the Patriotic Association.”

Peoria’s Bishop Daniel Jenky and Fr. Andrew Apostoli presented the “positio” – that is, the document outlining the beatification cause – for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Once the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approves the positio, they will start investigating whether the healing attributed to Abp. Sheen’s intercession was truly miraculous. The positio would be accompanied by a cover letter by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide and Archbishop Barry Hickey, ACBC vice president, along with Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart and Darwin Bishop D Eugene Hurley. Echoing his countrymen’s praises of Sheen was George Cardinal Pell of Sydney, Australia, and it was later revealed that Pope Benedict actually knew the archbishop.

We have a new Peruvian candidate for beatification. The cause for Francisco Tito Yupanqui, who sculpted the famous statue of the Virgin of Copacabana, was opened on May 21 at the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Our Lady of Copacabana. According to the Fides News Agency, “Local Catholic tradition holds that Tito Yupanqui had a night vision of a woman with a baby in her arms. Then he reproduced the shape of her face with native features and the image of the Virgin is in copper color. For this reason it is also called the “dark-skinned Virgin” (La Virgen Morena). The image has been preserved since 1583, while the shrine at Copacabana is one of the oldest in the Americas.”

An American is trying to promote the beatification of the late Queen of England, Katharine of Aragon (1485-1536), the first wife of the much-married English king, Henry VIII. The Catholic bishop of East Anglia and the Catholic Primate of England have both said emphasized that there must first be clear evidence of that people venerate Katharine’s memory and consider her saintly. Interestingly, it’s the Anglicans who are providing this, because, evidently, the biggest reason people visit Peterborough Cathedral – in Anglican hands and where she is buried – is to pray at Katharine’s tomb. Indeed, the author Joseph Pearce recently recounted how to the extent possible, he prays at her tomb whenever he is in England.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is now probing if a healing attributed to the intercession of teenage Visayan (i.e., Filipino) martyr Bl. Pedro Calungsod is “supernatural.” It concerns a Filipino woman who in 2003 revived from a Glasgow Coma 3 or a deep coma where a person is almost dead.

The beatification cause of the Servant of God Constantino Vendrame, a missioner who worked among the Khasi tribal people in northeastern India, has moved to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. When he came to the Khasi, there were just 400 Catholic Christians there. Five years later, that number had tripped to 1,449. One way he did this was to show film strips about the life of Jesus.

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