Church News, Saints Stories

Promulgation of the Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

On 6 March 2018, the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.DB., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the Congregation to promulgate the Decrees concerning:

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), Supreme Pontiff; born in Concesio, Italy, on 26 September 1897 and died in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on 6 August 1978;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Oscar Arnolfo Romero Galdámez, archbishop of San Salvador; born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, on 15 August 1917 and killed in San Salvador, El Salvador, on 24 March 1980;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Francesco Spinelli, diocesan priest; founder of the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, born in Milan, Italy, on 14 April 1853 and died in Rivolta d’Adda, Italy, on 6 February 1913;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Vincenzo Romano, diocesan priest; born in Torre del Greco, Italy, on 3 June 1751 and died there on 20 December 1831;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Maria Katharina Kasper, founder of the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; born on 26 May 1820 in Dernbach, Germany, and died there on 2 February 1898;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (née María Felicia Guggiari Echeverría), professed nun of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites; born in Villarica, Paraguay on 12 January 1925, and died in Asunción, Paraguay, on 28 April 1959;

– the martyrdom of the Servant of God Anna Kolesárová, layperson; born in Vysoká nad Uhom, Slovakia, on 14 July 1928 and killed there in hatred of the faith on 22 November 1944;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Bernardo Łubieński, professed priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer; born in Guzów, Poland, on 9 December 1846 and died in Warszawa, Poland, on 10 September 1933;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Cecilio Maria Cortinovis (né Antonio Pietro), professed religious of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; born in Nespello, Italy, on 7 November 1885 and died in Bergamo, Italy, on 10 April 1984;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Giustina Schiapparoli, founder of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence of Voghera; born in Castel San Giovanni, Italy, on 19 July 1819 and died in Voghera, Italy, on 20 November 1877;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Schiapparoli, founder of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence of Voghera; born in Castel San Giovanni, Italy, on 19 April 1815 and died in Vespolate, Italy, on 2 May 1882;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Antonella Bordoni, layperson, of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, founder of the Lay Fraternity of the Little Daughters of the Mother of God, now Little Daughters of the Mother of God; born on 13 October 1916 in Arezzo, Italy, and died in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on 16 January 1978;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Alessandra Sabattini, layperson; born on 19 August 1961 in Riccione, Italy, and died in Bologna, Italy on 2 May 1984.

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History, Saints Stories

Algerian Martyr: Sister Paul-Hélène Saint-Raymond

Along with Marist Brother Henri Verges, Sr. Paul-Hélène Saint-Raymond became the first person in the modern era to undergo martyrdom in Algeria on May 8, 1994.

Sister was born in Paris on January 24, 1927, the eighth of ten children. She did scientific studies in Sorbonne but found her religious vocation, joining the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1952, so she could serve the poor. Subsequently she studied to be a nurse and made her final vows in 1960.

For roughly four years, Sr. Paul-Hélène worked amongst the poor in Rouen, before transferring to Algeria, where she was head nurse at an Algiers health center. She was a whirlwind of activity so that she would exhaust her fellow sisters and had to be told to go easy on them. She became so skilled she could perform minor surgery.

Archbishop Teissier says she was someone who “chose what she wanted to do and she did it.”

Sister Paul-Hélène Saint-Raymond was born in Paris on January 24, 1927, the eighth of ten children. She did scientific studies in Sorbonne but found her religious vocation, joining the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1952, so she could serve the poor. Subsequently she studied to be a nurse and made her final vows in 1960.

For roughly four years, Sr. Paul-Hélène worked amongs the poor in Rouen, before transferring to Algeria, where she was head nurse at an Algiers health center. She was a whirlwind of activity so that she would exhaust her fellow sisters and had to be told to go easy on them. She became so skilled she could perform minor surgery.

Reflecting on the violence that then reigned, she wrote that “one must start oneself to fight against one’s own violence.” To Msgr. Teissier who warned her of the danger all were facing, she replied, “Father, our lives are already given anyway.”

Sister, an engineer by training, had lived 30 years in the Maghreb (i.e., northern Africa from Morocco to Libya’s western border) serving the people there. Upon her retirement, rather than returning to France, she moved to the capital to assist Brother Henri Vergès in running the library, which served 1,200 young people from neighboring schools.

The French Wikipedia article on her says, “She was very helpful, unfailingly generosity, of a very logical mind, of a lively intelligence, and possessed of a great memory. However, her frankness, her outspokenness, and her lack of tact caused her relational difficulties, and her determined character sometimes made her difficult to live for the other nuns, but her humility, her fraternal spirit and capacity for dialogue promoted reconciliation. Her vast culture and knowledge also makes her known as ‘Madame Encyclopédie.’ The depth of her faith helped her to overcome her inner struggles. She remained very attached to prayer, individual and community.

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Church News, History, News About Saints, Saints Stories

Algerian Bishops on the Announcement of the Beatification of Their Nation’s Martyrs

Announcement of the beatification of our nineteen brothers and sisters

Statement of the Bishops of Algeria

Our Church is full of Joy.  Pope Francis has just authorized the signature of the decree of beatification of “Monsignor Pierre Claverie and his 18 men and women companions”.  Continue reading

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Church News, News About Saints

July Decrees for the Causes of Saints

 From the Holy See’s Press Office today:

The great news in the following is that American Servant of God Bishop Servant of God Alphonse Gallegos, OSA, is now Ven. Alphonse Gallegos. 

Vatican City, 8 July 2016 – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorized the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:

MIRACLES

– A miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Louis-Antoine Rose Ormières, French priest and founder of the the Congregation of the Sisters of the Guardian Angel (1809-1890).

MARTYRDOM

– Servants of God Antonio Arribas Hortigüela, Spanish, and 6 companions, missionaries of the Sacred Heart, killed in hatred of the faith on 29 September 1936;

– Servant of God Jozef Mayr-Nusser, layperson, born in Bolzano in 1910 and killed in hatred of the faith on 24 February 1945 in Erlangen.

– HEROIC VIRTUES

– Servant of God Alphonse Gallegos, of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, American bishop, auxilary of the diocese of Sacramento (1931- 1991);

– Servant of God Rafael Sánchez García, Spanish diocesan priest (1911 -1973);

– Servant of God Andrés Filomeno García Acosta, Spanish professed layperson of the Order of Friars Minor (1800 – 1853);

– Servant of God Giuseppe Marchetti, Italian professed priest of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo (1869 -1896);

– Servant of God Giacomo Viale, Italian professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor, parish priest (1830- 1912);

– Servant of God Maria Pia of the Cross (née Maddalena Notari), Italian woman religious, founder of the Congregation of the Crucified Sisters Adorers of the Holy Eucharist (1847 -1919).

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Spiritual Reflections, This and That

Praying to the Saints … or Not

From the time I was a wee lad, my dear ol’ pappy drilled several lessons into me, one of which was, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” Another was, “Don’t do something half-baked,” although he used a different word than “baked.”

Maybe this explains why I’ve always been a stickler for the rules, and why it’s always bugged me when people do things sloppily or don’t follow them.

Do it right or go home

So for instance, in my fraternity, when it came time to initiate new brothers, I couldn’t stand that some guys would wear a coat, tie … and sneakers. ‘This is important,’ I thought. ‘Dress accordingly. Show respect for the awesome ceremony in which you’re about to participate and are about to give witness. Don’t dress like some slob who doesn’t care. And if you truly don’t care, scram.’

Or when there was a portion of the fraternity’s “liturgy” that was supposed to be recited from memory … and the brother reciting that part read from the ritual book. It wasn’t as though he didn’t have time to learn his lines. He was just lazy.

For me it’s the same thing when a priest doesn’t “say the black” and “do the red” in the Mass.

Hey, Father: We don’t need your improvisations. No matter how creative and wonderfully “pastoral” you are, nothing you can conjure is going to be as good as what the Church has given us. Plus the Second Vatican Council and the Popes since then have said no one has a right to change a single jot or tittle of the rubrics on their own. Ergo knock it off, will ya?

This disregard for rules and protocols, we see it everywhere today, don’t we? Maybe we even do it ourselves (yes, I’ve three fingers pointing at me; crossing at crosswalks is super difficult, after all).

Hard to miss that one

One big place we see it in the Church is with those who are on their way to possible beatification, the Servants of Gods and Venerables.

“Oh, come on,” some will think. “Don’t we have more important things to worry about?”

Of course. That doesn’t mean this isn’t important, however. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have any concern over this. If it’s true that “in the Mass everything matters” (as one seminary professor I know of teaches his students), shouldn’t we also be careful and diligent in the other things pertaining to God and what He’s given us through His Church?

For the Church tells us to do things and how to do them for a reason. We don’t get to – or shouldn’t – decide on our own where the Church is wrong. That will lead – and always has led – to some really bad things happening.

Saint So-and-So … pray for us!

What am I talking about, already? Simple: Prayers to the saints. Or in this instance, prayers to saints in the making.

If we’re praying to a canonized saint, we can pray directly to them. If we’re praying to a beato or beata (i.e., someone who’s been beatified), we can pray directly to them.

Why? Because despite the differences in titles, both saints and blesseds (aka, beati) are in heaven. We have the Church’s infallible assurance of this.

The same cannot be said of Servants of God and Venerables. They may be in heaven. They may be in purgatory. In some rare – hopefully exceedingly rare – instances, they may even be in hell. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1033 and 1035 for the reason why.

Absent a miracle or a declaration by the Pope of a person’s or persons’ martyrdom—which are the ordinary ways we ask God to reveal someone is with Him in the Beatific Vision—we have no way of knowing the disposition of their soul.

Judge not

For Jesus’ injunction to “Judge not lest ye be judged yourself” speaks not to judging someone’s actions (we have to judge the rightness or wrongness of actions – stealing, murder, alcoholism, addiction, sexual crimes, sins of all types, etc. – or else we’d have chaos). Rather it warns against judging the eternal disposition of someone’s soul. He is the Judge. We are not.

That works both negatively and positively.

So we’re not to say someone is roasting in eternal fires, no matter how wicked, sinful, and evil they were while alive. You will notice the Church does not claim to know whether one single soul is in hell, even Judas or Hitler or Osama bin Laden or Mao or anyone.

Similarly we’re not to claim someone is in heaven without definitive proof. The Church will and often has made that determination, but only after thorough investigation and examination and God has revealed this.

Until we have that certainty, we are not to pray directly for that person’s intercession.

So while I could ask Bl. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich of New Jersey or St. Pietro Parenzo for their intercession, I can’t ask, say, the Servant of God Fr. John Hardon, SJ, for his.

The proof is in the prayers

Don’t believe me? OK, don’t take it from me. Take it from the beatification causes of two “saints-in-waiting,” let’s call them.

First let’s look at one of my favorites, the Servant of God Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ, who spent years incarcerated by the Soviets, first in solitary confinement in the terrible Lubyanka Prison and then in Siberian labor camps.

fr_walter_ciszek_ewtn_world_catholic_news_10_21_10

Here is a prayer asking for his intercession:

Almighty God, we love, adore, and praise You as our Creator and Loving Father. Look with compassion and mercy upon us. Hear our prayer in this time of special need and through the intercession of Father Walter Ciszek, grant the following favor if it is Your Holy Will.

(Mention the Request)

Most loving God, accept our gratitude for hearing this prayer. May the knowledge of the virtues and holiness of Father Walter be recognized and known to provide a lasting example to draw sinners to reconciliation and to lead souls to sanctity.

For You are our God, and we are Your people, and we glorify You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.

What doesn’t happen in this prayer to the Servant of God? Nowhere do we say, “Fr. Ciszek, pray for us.” Instead the prayer is addressed to “Almighty God.”

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Now let’s look at a prayer from the cause of Ven. Pio Bruno Lanteri, founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, who also is up for beatification.

O Father, fountain of all life and holiness, You gave Fr. Bruno Lanteri great faith in Christ, Your Son, a lively hope, and an active love for the salvation of his brethren. You made him a prophet of Your Word and a witness to Your Mercy. He had a tender love for Mary, and by his very life he taught fidelity to the Church. Father, hear the prayer of Your family, and through the intercession of Fr. Lanteri, grant us the grace for which we now ask…. May he be glorified on earth that we may give You greater praise.

We ask this through Your Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Au contraire?

“But wait! But wait! The website promoting the cause of my favorite Venerable says, ‘Ven. So-and-So, pray for us’! What about that, eh?”

“But wait! But wait! Father always asks for the prayers of the Servant of God directly. Father would never do anything wrong or against the Church.”

It’s true. Various causes do this. That doesn’t mean they’re supposed to.

And Father may be unassailable in his orthodoxy and fidelity to the Magisterium.

That doesn’t mean in both instances ignorance isn’t involved. Very likely, it is.

Bottom line

In life, if we do something, we should do it right. Shouldn’t that especially be true when it comes to venerating the saints, especially if the person in question isn’t yet a saint?

Some people will pooh-pooh what I’ve written. But ask yourself: What do you have to lose being obedient to the Church? What do you have to gain by ignoring her?

You don’t need a saint’s intercession to discern the answer.

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Saints Stories, Uncategorized

March 2: St. Quintus the Wonder Worker

Today’s feast memorializes St. Quintus the Thaumaturge (i.e., wonder/miracle worker). He is considered another St. John the Evangelist, because like John he had been tortured in an effort to make him a martyr. However he endured and survived these ordeals and died peacefully of old age.

A native of Phrygia (modern day western Turkey) and from a Christian family, he went to the town of Aeolis (on Turkey’s western shore off the isle of Lesbos), and here he devoted himself to assisting the poor. During the time of Emperor Aurelian (270-275), the local governor was named Rufus. By having him tortured, he tried to force Quintus to sacrifice to idols according to the imperial decrees. He eventually released the holy man, however, because the saint’s prayers had freed him from  demonic obsession.

The Greeks’ Synaxaria (like a martyrology) tell us this happened in the city of Cyme, where an earthquake struck the pagan statues and the temple of idols, putting to flight all who were present there. Quintus was blamed for this. Therefore, 40 days after his release, Quintus was arrested again by another magistrate, this one named Clearchus. He proved more intransigent than Rufus, and he subjected the righteous one to torture, including having his legs broken. But when God immediately healed Quintus’ wounds, the pagans again released him, and no one ever bothered him from that point forward.

As a result, he went about his ministry healing the sick and aiding the poor for another 10 years, he died in about 280-85.

Quintus was a fairly common name among the Romans and indicates he was the “fifth child.”

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