Romanian martyr beatified in Bucharest
On August 31, Angelo Cardinal Amato, prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints beatified Msgr. Vladimir Ghika, a priest martyred by the Romanian communist government.
Monsignor was beatified at a Mass attended by 10,000 people, who came out to remember the man who resisted government efforts to make all Catholics reject the pope by becoming members of the state-sponsored Romanian Orthodox Church.
As Cardinal Amato noted in his homily, “Catholics were humiliated, their property confiscated, bishops and priests were imprisoned and killed, seminarians were tortured, lay Christians were forced to renounce the Catholic faith, monks were dispersed, schools and churches were closed and seized, religious liberty was suppressed.”
Msgr. Ghika, who was a member of the Romanian royal family and a convert from Orthodoxy, used his wealth to care for the needy in Paris, where he was ordained as a priest.
He returned to his homeland, however, after the outbreak of World War II to minister to Polish refugees following Germany’s invasion of Poland. He also found a way to guard Jews from deportation to the death camps.
Although, he could have returned to France following the War, he decided to stay in Romania, despite his being doubly worthy of persecution, being both a royal and a Catholic.
In 1952, at age 79, the communists imprisoned him, and he spent his time in prison serving and witnessing to his fellow inmates.
He died two years later on May 16 following the brutal treatment of the secret police, including being electrocuted with cattle prods, treatment which caused his partial loss of hearing and sight.
Modern Italian woman beatified
On September 7, Angelo Cardinal Amato, prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints beatified an Italian laywoman who tirelessly worked to relieve the distress and suffering of the poor and sick.
Maria Bolognesi (1924-80) was born illegitimate and grew up impoverished. Her father physically abused her, and her mom blasphemed God and the Faith. Demons tempted her, and yet she held close to God, who gave her mystical experiences, which redoubled her love for Him. This she expressed in caring for the “poor, orphans, and sick.”
Read more here.
Argentine diocesan priest beatified
On Saturday, September 14, in Córdoba, Argentina, Angelo Cardinal Amato, prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints beatified Fr. José Gabriel Brochero (1840-1914), a cowboy priest who gone blind and become leprous by the time of his death.
The Italian news agency ANSA (Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata) reported, “the gaucho priest was indefatigable when traveling in the remote mountainous areas around Córdoba to bring the word of the Catholic Church to the people, as well as when he used to help build houses, churches, schools, post offices, dams, roads, and telegraph networks.”
Catholic World News reports that Pope Francis, who is himself Argentinian, praised Blessed José Gabriel in a letter to Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe, the president of the Argentine bishops’ conference, which was made public on the date of the beatification ceremony. The Pontiff characterized the “gaucho priest” as a “shepherd who had the smell of his sheep.”
First Prince Edward Island bishop’s cause opens
The beatification cause for the late Angus MacEachern, the first bishop for Canada’s Prince Edward Island, has been opened. Many believe this step is “long overdue.”
In 1790, then-Fr. MacEachern emigrated to Canada at age 31 with his family. For the next four decades and with almost no financial support, he labored as a worker in the Lord’s vineyard there on the Island. What made him remarkable in the eyes of people even today was his resilience, his dedication, and his love for the gospel and people’s souls. He alsoo founded “the first institute of higher learning on PEI, and the first such Catholic institution in Atlantic Canada.”
One could say he was the apostle of eastern Canada because he was so pivotal in establishing the Church in that part of the country.
Church beatifies Italian Franciscan
On Sunday, September 22, Fra Tommaso da Olera, OFM Cap, a 17th century Capuchin, received beatification at the cathedral in Bergamo, Italy.
He was illiterate upon entering the order as a lay brother, but eventually, his wisdom and judgment made him a preferred advisor to various noblemen in Austria and Bavaria, where he was stationed. He was also a great preacher, making understandable those parts of the Gospels that many have a hard time comprehending.
Pius XII Understood Controversy Would Follow Him
A priest acquaintance of Ven. Pius XII has said that the World War II-era Pope knew people would question his actions concerning the Jews and the Holocaust.
Nonetheless, says Fr. Peter Gumpel, who was an investigator for the late pontiff’s beatification cause, Pope Pius went to his death believing he had done the right thing.
Even during the War, some within and outside the Vatican criticized the Holy Father for not enough action. Nonetheless, over 800,000 Jews were saved from death by Pius XII’s actions, and Jewish luminaries from Israel’s first female Prime Minister Golda Meir to Albert Einstein to Rome’s Chief Rabbi during the War lauded His Holiness for the things he did to save their coreligionists from certain death.
Fr. Kapaun’s Inspirational Story Doesn’t Equal Sainthood, Vatican Investigator Says
Many people find the story of the Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun inspiring and a great example of the Good Shepherd who gives his life for his flock.
Yet last week, Italian lawyer Andrea Ambrosi, who conducts sainthood investigations for the Vatican, went to Wichita, Kansas, to further investigate the late Army chaplain’s sainthood cause, and said the priest’s inspirational life is not enough on its own to merit sainthood.
What will be just as if not more important is answering the question: Was Kapaun a martyr for the Faith?
Ambrosi says after years of intense review, he is ready to say that Fr. Kapaun was indeed a martyr. His findings will go into a report that will be finished sometime before spring 2014.
However, the martyrdom bar is very high, and just because Ambrosi is recommending the Church recognize Father’s status as a martyr does not mean others will agree.
Remember, if it is conclusively decided by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that someone was a martyr, that person automatically qualifies for beatification. It means that person is irrefutably in heaven. They would still need a miracle, however, to qualify for canonization.
Keep in mind that a beatified person -- or a beato -- is considered a saint, but their veneration is historically limited to a local church, say in a diocese or even a monastery. Canonization is a recognition by the universal Church that this person should be venerated and emulated.
Croatian Priest Beatified
This past Sunday, the Servant of God Miroslav Bulesic was formally beatified as a martyr in Pula, Croatia. The beatification ceremony was attended by the entire Croatian episcopate, 670-plus priests, and an estimated 17,000 congregants.
Bl. Miroslav died at age 27 in 1947 because communists took issue with his administering the sacraments, and they beat him one day relentlessly. When that didn’t kill him, they cut his throat.