On June 2, it was announced that the Pope could name St. John of Avila -- one of my favorites -- could be named a Doctor of the Church. He was a friend to both Ss. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, and helped make several other saints, as well.
On June 5, a Mass was held commemorating the cause for sainthood and the 125th anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Augustus Tolton, the nation’s first black priest. The Mass was celebrated by the incredible Bishop Joseph Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, who many consider a saint himself.
On June 8, the Brazlian bishops opened the beatification cause of one of their own, Archbishop Luciano Mendes de Almeida, SJ, who Brazilians love for his love of the poor and attention to human rights.
Possibly the biggest saints news of the month is the Archdiocese of Boston’s opening the cause of Fr. Jose Muzquiz, the first Opus Dei priest in the US, and one of the first three priests ordained for Opus Dei. My goodness, this story was picked up in so many outlets.
On June 12, Pentecost Sunday, the Pope named as a patron of world peace, Bl. Alois Andritzki, who was beatified the next day. Bl. Alois was a sports fanatic, a priest, and a youth minister who made no secret of his antipathy for Nazism. Because of this the Nazis arrested him and sent him to Dachau and that concentration camp’s infamous priest block. And you know what he did when he got there? He formed a Bible study. You know what else he did? He resolved to show joy at all times. Think of how that must have effected his fellow inmates amidst that misery and squalor, because joy and happiness are choices, acts of the will, just like love, aren’t they? “After more than a year in the camp, sick with typhoid, [he was beginning to recover when] he asked a guard if he could receive Communion. Instead, they gave him a lethal injection. He died February 3, 1943, at the age of 28.”
The beatification cause of Bl. William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Marianist Order, announced on June 15 that a St. Louis woman’s miraculous cure from cancer might be the miracle needed to achieve canonization for him. Bl. Chaminade, as he’s known, founded the order to which Bl. Jakob Gapp, the first saint profiled in my book, belonged.
On June 19, Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the beatification of Sr. Marguerite Rutan, who refused to renounce her faith during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Because of this, the Jacobites guillotined her.
On June 25, Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, beatified Fathers Johannes Prassek, Hermann Lange, and Eduard Müller, three priests martyred by the Nazi regime in 1943. An estimated 5,000 attended an open-air Mass in Lübeck, the northern German city where the three ministered.
A Lutheran pastor, Karl Friedrich Stellbrink, was slain with the three priests, and the beatification caused controversy amongst some Lutherans because the Catholic Church would not beatify him, as well.
On June 27, His Holiness Benedict XVI declared “Venerable” Fr. Matthew Kadalikattil, who was known for his devotion to the Sacred Heart and for his care for the dalits or Untouchables of India.
On June 27, the Pope approved miracles for four Servants of God, which means they all get to bypass the “venerable” stage and will be called “blessed” after their beatifications. He also recognized the martyrdoms of two Spaniards and one German, which means they also will automatically be declared “blessed,” without needing the usual qualifying miracle attributed to their intercession. Finally, in addition to Fr. Kadalikattil, he declared venerable seven other individuals, including Sr. Maria Giuseppina Benvenuti (nee Zeinab Alif), whose story is very similar to St. Josephine Bakhita.
On June 28, Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, NY, celebrated a Mass to close a tribunal formed to review a possible miracle attributed to the intercession of Fr. Patrick Peyton, who died in 1992, and who founded Family Radio, as well as the motto, “The family that prays together stays together.”
Today, July 1, is the closing of the 10-year-old diocesan phase of Fr. Emil Kapaun, an Army chaplain who died in a North Korean POW camp in 1951. To watch the commemorative Mass, go to www.cdowk.org to see it streamed live beginning at 5 p.m. Central, Friday, July 1.
Fr. Kapaun was from the little town of Pilsen, Kansas, which was a community of Czech immigrants. After his ordination, he returned to his community but there was a little army airfield nearby, and he would sometimes help out. That inspired him to join the army in 1944, where he began his chaplain’s career near Macon, Georgia. During World War II, he also served in the Burma Theater, and after the war he did like a lot of former GIs did, go to college. After getting his MA in 1948, he reenlisted and was made chaplain at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Not too much later, the Korean War started, and he was sent to the war theater, where he earned the Bronze Star medal. In November 1950, however, Chinese communists captured him and turned him over to the North Koreans. After doing some tremendously heroic things to minister to the men in his camp, he died on May 23, 1951.