Pope advances sainthood causes of Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha

MARIANNE COPE--Pope Benedict XVI cleared the way for Marianne Cope's canonization Dec. 19 by recognizing a miracle attributed to her intercession, but no date has been set for the canonization ceremony. (CNS graphic/Emily Thompson)

Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood causes of Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

He also formally recognized the martyrdom of 64 victims of the Spanish Civil War and advanced the causes of 18 other men and women.

During a meeting Dec. 19 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the pope signed the decrees recognizing the miracles needed for the canonizations of Blesseds Marianne and Kateri.

Before a date is set for the canonization ceremonies, there must be an “ordinary public consistory,” a formal ceremony opened and closed with prayer, during which cardinals present in Rome express their support for the pope’s decision to create new saints.

Blessed Marianne, who worked as a teacher and hospital administrator in New York, spent the last 30 years of her life ministering on the Hawaiian island of Molokai to those with leprosy. She died on the island in 1918 at age 80 and was beatified in St. Peter’s Basilica in 2005.

Blessed Kateri, known as the Lily of the Mohawks, was born to a Christian Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father in 1656 in upstate New York along the Mohawk River. She was baptized by a Jesuit missionary in 1676 when she was 20, and she died in Canada four years later. In June 1980, she became the first Native American to be beatified.

Pope Benedict also recognized miracles attributed to the intercession of five other people, who now can be declared saints. They are:

–Blessed Giovanni Battista Piamarta, an Italian priest who founded the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth for men and the Humble Servants of the Lord for women. He died in 1913.

–Blessed Jacques Berthieu, a French Jesuit priest who was martyred in Madagascar in 1896.

–Blessed Carmen Salles y Barangueras, the Spanish founder of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. She worked with disadvantaged girls and prostitutes and saw that early education was essential for helping young women. She died in 1911.

–Blessed Peter Calungsod, a lay Catholic from Cebu, Philippines, who accompanied Jesuit missionaries to Guam as a catechist and was martyred there in 1672 while he was in his late teens.

–Blessed Anna Schaffer, a lay German woman who wanted to be a missionary, but couldn’t do so after a succession of physical accidents and disease. She accepted her infirmity as a way of sanctification. Her grave has been a pilgrimage site since her death in 1925.

Pope Benedict also signed decrees that pave the way for numerous beatifications:

–He recognized the martyrdom of 64 priests, religious and a layman, Jose Gorostazu Labayen, who were martyred between 1936 and 1937 during the Spanish Civil War.

–He recognized the martyrdom of Father Nicolaus Rusca, a Swiss priest who was tortured and killed after being condemned by a Protestant court in 1618.

–He formally recognized the miracle needed for the beatification of Father Louis Brisson, the French founder of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

–He formally recognized the miracle needed for the beatification of Italian Father Luigi Novarese, an official at the Vatican Secretariat of State and founder of the Silent Workers of the Cross Association.

–He formally recognized the miracle needed for the beatification of Mother Maria Mole, the French founder of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis.

–He formally recognized the miracles needed for the beatifications of two nuns, one from Argentina and one from Italy.

The pope approved seven other decrees recognizing that the men and women lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way and that they are venerable. Recognition of a miracle attributed to each candidate’s intercession is needed for that person’s beatification.

Share This:

Contest seeks pro-life video public service announcements

The Western Association of the Knights of Malta, based in San Francisco, is sponsoring a contest for the creation of 30-second and 45-second pro-life video public service announcements.

Prizes of $1,500 each will be awarded to the best 30-second video and the best 45-second video. The contest is open to undergraduate students attending colleges or universities in California, Arizona, Washington, Hawaii and Colorado.

Winning videos along with their soundtrack become the property of the Western Association. The videos will be promoted on YouTube, social networks, the Western Association’s Web site and other media outlets.

While the contest is designed to promote creativity in support of life, the following guidelines must be followed:

–The content must not contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church.

–The announcements must promote a greater understanding of the church’s teaching on the defense of unborn life.

–Obscenities and/or vulgarities will disqualify the entry.

Participants can register by contacting “Reel Life Film Contest” on Facebook where they can also upload their videos. All entries must be submitted by March 25. Winners will be announced June 24.

The Knights of Malta are officially known as the Sovereign Military Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. The organization, which was established to care for pilgrims during the Crusades, is an active lay Catholic religious order and a worldwide humanitarian network.

The order has three national associations in the US: the Western Association, the Federal Association, and the American Association.

The Western Association runs free medical clinics in California and provides nursing services to several parish communities. It also annually sponsors healing Masses in California, Arizona, and Washington.

Share This:

Migrants and the New Evangelization

Benedict XVI’s Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2012

The following is the Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the 98th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2012 on the theme: “Migration and the New Evangelization”, which will be celebrated on 15 January 2012.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Proclaiming Jesus Christ the one Saviour of the world “constitutes the essential mission of the Church. It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14). Indeed, today we feel the urgent need to give a fresh impetus and new approaches to the work of evangelization in a world in which the breaking down of frontiers and the new processes of globalization are bringing individuals and peoples even closer. This is both because of the development of the means of social communication and because of the frequency and ease with which individuals and groups can move about today. In this new situation we must reawaken in each one of us the enthusiasm and courage that motivated the first Christian communities to be undaunted heralds of the Gospel’s newness, making St Paul’s words resonate in our hearts: “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).

“Migration and the New Evangelization” is the theme I have chosen this year for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, and it arises from the aforesaid situation. The present time, in fact, calls upon the Church to embark on a new evangelization also in the vast and complex phenomenon of human mobility. This calls for an intensification of her missionary activity both in the regions where the Gospel is proclaimed for the first time and in countries with a Christian tradition.

Blessed John Paul II invited us to “nourish ourselves with the word in order to be ‘servants of the word’ in the work of evangelization … [in] a situation which is becoming increasingly diversified and demanding, in the context of ‘globalization’ and of the consequent new and uncertain mingling of peoples and cultures” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 40). Internal or international migration, in fact, as an opening in search of better living conditions or to flee from the threat of persecution, war, violence, hunger or natural disasters, has led to an unprecedented mingling of individuals and peoples, with new problems not only from the human standpoint but also from ethical, religious and spiritual ones. The current and obvious consequences of secularization, the emergence of new sectarian movements, widespread insensitivity to the Christian faith and a marked tendency to fragmentation are obstacles to focusing on a unifying reference that would encourage the formation of “one family of brothers and sisters in societies that are becoming ever more multiethnic and intercultural, where also people of various religions are urged to take part in dialogue, so that a serene and fruitful coexistence with respect for legitimate differences may be found”, as I wrote in my Message last year for this World Day. Our time is marked by endeavours to efface God and the Church’s teaching from the horizon of life, while doubt, scepticism and indifference are creeping in, seeking to eliminate all the social and symbolic visibility of the Christian faith.

In this context migrants who have known and welcomed Christ are not infrequently constrained to consider him no longer relevant to their lives, to lose the meaning of their faith, no longer to recognize themselves as members of the Church, and often lead a life no longer marked by Christ and his Gospel. Having grown up among peoples characterized by their Christian faith they often emigrate to countries in which Christians are a minority or where the ancient tradition of faith, no longer a personal conviction or a community religion, has been reduced to a cultural fact. Here the Church is faced with the challenge of helping migrants keep their faith firm even when they are deprived of the cultural support that existed in their country of origin, and of identifying new pastoral approaches, as well as methods and expressions, for an ever vital reception of the Word of God. In some cases this is an opportunity to proclaim that, in Jesus Christ, humanity has been enabled to participate in the mystery of God and in his life of love. Humanity is also opened to a horizon of hope and peace, also through respectful dialogue and a tangible testimony of solidarity. In other cases there is the possibility of reawakening the dormant Christian conscience through a renewed proclamation of the Good News and a more consistent Christian life to enable people to rediscover the beauty of the encounter with Christ who calls Christians to holiness wherever they may be, even in a foreign land.

The phenomenon of migration today is also a providential opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world. Men and women from various regions of the earth who have not yet encountered Jesus Christ or know him only partially, ask to be received in countries with an ancient Christian tradition. It is necessary to find adequate ways for them to meet and to become acquainted with Jesus Christ and to experience the invaluable gift of salvation which, for everyone, is a source of “life in abundance” (cf. Jn 10:10); migrants themselves have a special role in this regard because they in turn can become “heralds of God’s word and witnesses to the Risen Jesus, the hope of the world” (Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, 105).

Pastoral workers – priests, religious and lay people – play a crucial role in the demanding itinerary of the new evangelization in the context of migration. They work increasingly in a pluralist context: in communion with their Ordinaries, drawing on the Church’s Magisterium. I invite them to seek ways of fraternal sharing and respectful proclamation, overcoming opposition and nationalism. For their part, the Churches of origin, of transit and those that welcome the migration flows should find ways to increase their cooperation for the benefit both of those who depart and those who arrive, and, in any case, of those who, on their journey, stand in need of encountering the merciful face of Christ in the welcome given to one’s neighbour. To achieve a fruitful pastoral service of communion, it may be useful to update the traditional structures of care for migrants and refugees, by setting beside them models that respond better to the new situations in which different peoples and cultures interact with one another.

Asylum seekers, who fled from persecution, violence and situations that put their life at risk, stand in need of our understanding and welcome, of respect for their human dignity and rights, as well as awareness of their duties. Their suffering pleads with individual states and the international community to adopt attitudes of reciprocal acceptance, overcoming fears and avoiding forms of discrimination, and to make provisions for concrete solidarity also through appropriate structures for hospitality and resettlement programmes. All this entails mutual help between the suffering regions and those which, already for years, have accepted a large number of fleeing people, as well as a greater sharing of responsibilities among States.

The press and the other media have an important role in making known, correctly, objectively and honestly, the situation of those who have been forced to leave their homeland and their loved ones and want to start building a new life.

Christian communities are to pay special attention to migrant workers and their families by accompanying them with prayer, solidarity and Christian charity, by enhancing what is reciprocally enriching, as well as by fostering new political, economic and social planning that promotes respect for the dignity of every human person, the safeguarding of the family, access to dignified housing, to work and to welfare.

Priests, men and women religious, lay people, and most of all young men and women are to be sensitive in offering support to their many sisters and brothers who, having fled from violence, have to face new lifestyles and the difficulty of integration. The proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ will be a source of relief, hope and “full joy” (cf. Jn 15:11).

Lastly, I would like to mention the situation of numerous international students who are facing problems of integration, bureaucratic difficulties, hardship in the search for housing and welcoming structures. Christian communities are to be especially sensitive to the many young men and women who, precisely because of their youth, need reference points in addition to cultural growth, and have in their hearts a profound thirst for truth and the desire to encounter God. Universities of Christian inspiration are to be, in a special way, places of witness and of the spread of the new evangelization, seriously committed to contributing to social, cultural and human progress in the academic milieu. They are also to promote intercultural dialogue and enhance the contribution that international students can give. If these students meet authentic Gospel witnesses and examples of Christian life, it will encourage them to become agents of the new evangelization.

Dear friends, let us invoke the intercession of Mary, “Our Lady of the Way”, so that the joyful proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ may bring hope to the hearts of those who are on the move on the roads of the world. To one and all I assure my prayers and impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 21 September 2011

Share This:

‘Lily of the Mohawks’ came to know, love Christ over clan’s objections

'LILY OF MOHAWKS'--A portrait of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is seen at the Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Gallup, NM. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, “the Lily of the Mohawks,” is the young Indian maiden who, despite objections from some in her own clan, came to know and love Christ.

She was born in 1656 in a village on the Mohawk River called Ossernenon, now Auriesville, NY. Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother a Christian Algonquin raised among the French.

She was born into a period of political and religious turmoil, 10 years after three of the Jesuit martyrs were tortured and killed: Rene Goupil, Isaac Jogues, and Jean Lalande. Indians blamed the “Blackrobes” for the sudden appearance of deadly white man’s diseases, including small pox.

When Kateri was only 4, a smallpox epidemic claimed her parents and baby brother. Kateri survived, but her face was disfigured and her eyesight impaired.

According to legend, she was raised by relatives who began to plan her marriage. But after meeting with Catholic priests, Kateri decided to be baptized and pursue religious life. When she was baptized on Easter in 1676 at age 20, her relatives were not pleased.

She fled the next year to Canada, taking refuge at St. Francis Xavier Mission in the Mohawk Nation at Caughnawaga on the St. Lawrence River, about 10 miles from Montreal. She reportedly made her first Communion on Christmas in 1677.

She astounded the Jesuits with her deep spirituality and her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She took a private vow of virginity and devoted herself to prayer and to teaching prayers to the children and helping the sick and elderly of Caughnawaga.

Kateri was not the only member of her community to embrace Christianity during a colonial time fraught with conflict and struggle for native tribes. But to her older, more educated Jesuit mentors, she was remarkable.

When her request to start a religious community was denied, Kateri continued to live a life of austerity and prayer. She was said to perform “extraordinary penances.”

She died in 1680 at the age of 24. According to eyewitnesses, including two Jesuits and many Indians, the scars on her face suddenly disappeared after her death. Her tomb is in Caughnawaga. There is a shrine to her in St. Francis Xavier Church there.

Soon after Blessed Kateri died, Catholics started to claim that favors and miracles had been obtained through her intercession. American Indians have made appeals to the Catholic Church for her recognition since at least the late 1800s.

Documentation for her sainthood cause was sent to the Vatican in 1932. She was declared venerable in 1942, the first step to sainthood that recognizes the candidate’s heroic virtues.

Two miracles that occur after death are generally needed for a sainthood cause to move forward. After a first miracle is confirmed by the Church, the candidate is beatified. Kateri was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980, giving her the title “Blessed.”

Documentation for the final miracle needed for her canonization was sent to the Vatican in July 2009. It involved the recovery of a young boy in Seattle whose face had been disfigured by flesh-eating bacteria and who almost died from the disease. But he recovered completely, and the Vatican confirmed the work of a tribunal who determined there was no medical explanation for it.

On Dec. 19, the pope signed the decree recognizing the miracle in Blessed Kateri’s cause clearing the way for her canonization.

The US Church marks her feast day July 14. She is listed as patron of American Indians, ecology, and the environment and is held up as a model for Catholic youths.

In the US, there are two shrines to Blessed Kateri, the National Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Fonda, NY, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville.

The National Tekakwitha Conference, based in Great Falls, MT, was started in 1939 as a way to unify Catholic American Indians from different tribes across the US. The organization is financed by membership dues and grants from the US bishops, the Catholic Church Extension Society and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions.

“The Indian people in the United States and Canada have longed for the canonization of Blessed Kateri from the moment of her beatification,” Abp. Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia told Catholic News Service at the Vatican Dec. 7.

A member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, he is the only Native American Catholic archbishop in the US.

“We are all very proud of her because she embodies in herself what Pope John Paul II called inculturation — the saints are the truly inculturated members of a particular ethnic group because they personally embody both the Gospel and the culture from which they come,” he said.

Interviewed before the pope’s decree, Abp. Chaput said news of her canonization would bring “great rejoicing for the Indian community,” and he predicted “we’ll show up in significant numbers here in Rome” for her canonization ceremony.

Blessed Kateri has always been held up “as a very holy person by members of the Native community and they have longed and longed for this moment to come,” Msgr. Paul A. Lenz said. He is vice postulator for her cause and former executive director of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions.

When she worked in the fields, Blessed Kateri would carry a cross with her as a source for contemplation. Her last words were reported to be, “Jesus, I love you.”

Timeline of key events related to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

–1656: Born in a village on the Mohawk River near Auriesville, NY. Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother a Christian Algonquin.

–1660: Orphaned at age 4 when a smallpox epidemic claimed her parents and her baby brother.

–1676: Baptized on Easter at age 20.

–1677: Fled to Canada, taking refuge at St. Francis Xavier Mission in the Mohawk Nation at Caughnawaga. Reportedly made her first Communion on Christmas.

–1680: Died at age 24, is buried at Caughnawaga.

–Late 1800s: American Indians began making appeals to the Catholic Church that she be recognized for her deep spirituality and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

–1932: Documentation for her sainthood cause was sent to the Vatican.

–1939: National Tekakwitha Conference started to promote evangelization among indigenous Catholics who are members of more than 300 tribes and nations in the US and Canada.

— June 22, 1980: Beatified by Pope John Paul II.

–Dec. 19, 2011: Pope Benedict XVI approves miracle attributed to her intercession.

Share This:

Ten years after abuse scandal, Boston cardinal reflects on its impact

Boston's Card. Sean P. O'Malley (CNS file)

“Our church will never forget the clergy sexual abuse crisis,” said Card. Sean P. O’Malley of Boston in a document marking the 10th anniversary of the abuse scandal that first rocked the archdiocese in January 2002, the reverberations of which continue to be felt.

“The traumatic and painful days we experienced 10 years ago rightfully forced us to address the issue honestly and implement many necessary changes,” said Card. O’Malley in the 2,500-word document, “Ten Years Later–Reflections on the Sexual Abuse Crisis,” released Jan. 4.

Card. O’Malley said that since his appointment in July 2003, “our highest priority has been to provide outreach and care for all the survivors of clergy sexual abuse and to do everything possible to make sure this abuse never happens again.”

The cardinal said the archdiocese has met with more than 1,000 survivors and family members. “As one measure of our commitment, during the past seven years, the archdiocese has spent more than $7 million to provide counseling, medicines, and other services for survivors and their families,” he added. “At any given time, we are providing assistance for approximately 300 people.”

Since 2003, the Archdiocese of Boston has settled approximately 800 claims of clergy sexual abuse, Card. O’Malley said, although no figure was offered on the total archdiocesan payout in those cases.

He added that about 300,000 children have received safe environment training through their parish schools or religious education programs. The cardinal said about 175,000 adults–clergy, religious, and laity, both paid staff and volunteers–have been trained to identify and report suspected abuse.

“It is indisputable that the survivors of clergy sexual abuse have suffered greatly. As an archdiocese, as a church, we can never cease to make clear the depth of our sorrow and to beg forgiveness from those who were so grievously harmed,” Card. O’Malley said. “The survivors’ strength in proclaiming the truth allowed others to acknowledge their own pain and take steps to begin healing.”

FINGERPRINTING--A technician scanned the fingerprints of an applicant for a position in the Archdiocese of Washington in this 2004 file photo. Background checks on priests, other Church personnel, and volunteers who work with children take place in nearly every US diocese in the country, including the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. (CNS file photo)

He added, “Men and women who have suffered the most egregious abuse (have) shared that they are striving each day to forgive the man who perpetrated the abuse. This is an extraordinary and humbling sign of God’s goodness beyond all measure, and a message of courage, hope, and love.”

Card. O’Malley thanked the news media, which uncovered the scope of the abuse in Boston and elsewhere. “The media helped make our Church safer for children by raising up the issue of clergy sexual abuse and forcing us to deal with it,” he said. “All of us who hold the protection of children as the highest priority are indebted to the media’s advocacy on this issue.”

The cardinal noted that “all Catholics, those who continue to be present at their parishes for the celebration of the Eucharist and those who have felt the need to step away during recent years, have carried the burden of the anger, shame and confusion of this scandal. It is also important to recognize that our Catholic community is an essential part of our ongoing response.”

Card. O’Malley said the message was offered “with a spirit of contrition and humility, with a commitment to vigilance and with gratitude for all who have given their time and effort to ensure that such abuse never again occur in the Church.” He added, “We look to the future with the hope that God will bring good out of this situation and offer hope and healing to all those affected by the crisis.”

In a letter to Catholics in the archdiocese that accompanied the document, Card. O’Malley said, “As leaders in the church we must accept our responsibility for those failings and clearly acknowledge that church leadership could have and should have responded more quickly and more forcefully.”

Although “sweeping and significant” changes have been made by the Church in the past decade, he added, “ we cannot be lulled into a sense of achievement that would risk complacency. … There will never be a time to presume that the crisis is over or behind us.”

Share This: