Possible Beatification of the Servant of God Pope Paul VI

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Upon receiving dozens of requests yesterday for confirmation of the details about Pope Paul VI’s imminent beatification, at the conclusion of October’s Synod of Bishops, it is important to remember that before speaking or writing authoritatively of approval of a miracle or an established date for the ceremony, the Congregation of Saints must meet, approve the findings of a miracle and then the Prefect of the Congregation would present them to Pope Francis for his final approval and signature.  This has not yet been done.  Therefore it is best to wait for the decree before announcing and writing about the date of his beatification.

In the meantime, numerous individuals and news agencies asked me to provide a   It may be helpful to you.

The Servant of God Pope Paul VI (1963-1978)

Pope Paul VI was born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini on September 26th 1897. He was the Pope from June 21st 1963 to his death on the 6th of August 1978. Cardinal Montini, upon his election to the papacy, took the name Paul VI to indicate a renewed worldwide mission to spread the message of Christ. He re-convoked the Second Vatican Council, which was automatically suspended with the death of John XXIII, and gave it priority and direction. In his first Papal address he committed himself to a continuation of the work begun by John XXIII with the opening of the Second Vatican Council. On September 14th 1965 he announced the establishment of the Synod of Bishops called for by the Council fathers. He was one of the most traveled popes in history and the first to visit five continents.

Before his pontificate Montini served in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State from 1922 to 1954. During World War II Montini was responsible for organizing the extensive relief work and the care of political refugees.

In 1954, Pius XII named him Archbishop of Milan, the largest Italian diocese. Montini took possession of his new see on January 5th 1955 and soon made himself known as the “archbishop of the workers.” He revitalized the entire diocese, preached the social message of the Gospel, worked to win back the laboring class, promoted Catholic education at every level, and supported the Catholic press. His impact upon the city at this time was so great that it attracted world-wide attention. At Pope John’s first consistory Archbishop Montini was one of 23 prelates raised to the cardinalate. His response to the call for a Council was immediate and even before it met he was identified as a strong advocate of collegiality.

To those who knew him best, Paul VI was described as a brilliant man, deeply spiritual, humble, reserved and gentle, a man of “infinite courtesy.”  He is noted for his rigorous reform of the Roman curia, his well-received address to the UN in 1965, his encyclical Populorum progressio (1967), his second great social letter Octogesima adveniens (1971)—the first to show an awareness of many problems that have only recently been brought to light—and his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, his last major pronouncement which also touched on the central question of the just conception of liberation and salvation.

Paul VI sought dialogue with the world, with other Christians, other religions, and atheists. He saw himself as a humble servant and demanded significant changes in favor of the poor. After a period of ill health Paul VI died on August 6th 1978. In 1993 the cause for Paul VI’s canonization was started and as of December 2013, Vatican officials stated that a miracle attributed to the intercession of Paul VI was “medically unexplainable” and once confirmed, Venerable Paul VI would be called “Blessed”.

If in fact Pope Paul VI is proclaimed Blessed in the near future, he would become the tenth Roman Pontiff who has the title “Blessed”.  At present the others are:

1. Blessed Victor III

2. Blessed Urban II

3. Blessed Eugene III

4. Blessed Gregory X

5. Blessed Innocent V

6. Blessed Benedict XI

7. Blessed Urban V

8. Blessed Innocent XI

9. Blessed Pius IX

Archbishop Fulton Sheen: Loyal Son of the Church on the Road to Sainthood

The diocesan phase of the cause of canonization for Fulton Sheen – the phase in which officials his home diocese meet with people who knew him or were touched by his work and gather evidence to show he lived a life of heroic virtues – was closed in 2008 and the related documents were sent to the Vatican.

December 11, 2011 marked the official closing of the tribunal into an alleged miracle through the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  On June 28, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI declared Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen ‘VENERABLE.”  The recognition of his heroic virtues means Fulton Sheen is just “Venerable” for now, but this is the first step towards sainthood. Church officials are now examining a case of extraordinary healing which took place thanks to his intercession. This could soon lead to his beatification.

Born in El Paso, Illinois, in the Diocese of Peoria, John Fulton Sheen was ordained a priest of that diocese in 1919.  He eventually left his central Illinois roots and became known nationwide as the host of pioneering radio and television programs, including “The Catholic Hour” and “Life Is Worth Living.” The latter was a television series that aired from 1951 to 1957 and attracted an estimated 30 million weekly viewers.

Archbishop Sheen taught philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, 1926-50, and was national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 1950-66.  In 1966 Sheen was appointed Bishop of Rochester, New York.

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He died in 1979 just a few months after Pope John Paul II praised him during his historic visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for Sheen’s commitment to the announcement of the Gospel.

A relatively unknown fact is that during the Second Vatican Council, Bishop Sheen, who attended the Council, worked closely with then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, a theological expert, on the commission for mission.

The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen is a not only a regular fixture on the S+L broadcast schedule, but an inspiration to our entire team as well. Archbishop Sheen was ahead of his time when he took to the airways to teach the faith in a way that viewers of his day could connect to.

Archbishop Sheen “wanted to get to heaven … wanted to bring all of us with him … wanted to be a saint. … wanted us to be saints, too,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a homily during an anniversary mass marking Sheen’s death.

“With his voice Fulton J. Sheen gave us the story of Jesus, the ‘greatest story ever told,’ the way the stained-glass windows of the medieval cathedrals, or the brush strokes of a Raphael, a Fra Angelico, a Giotto once did,” Dolan said.

“For him, this Jesus was alive, still active, still powerful, still teaching, still healing, still leading us to heaven, because, you see, the incarnation was still going on: The word was still taking flesh; God was still becoming man.”

Join us at Salt and Light Television in praying for the cause of canonization of Fulton Sheen, a loyal son of the Church and an apostle of the New Evangelization through media.

For more information about the cause for canonization of Archbishop Sheen, visit archbishopsheencause.org

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(CNS file photo)

 

 

 

 

A (possible) television saint

The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen is a not only a regular fixture on the S+L broadcast schedule, but an inspiration to our team as well. Archbishop Sheen was ahead of his time when he took to the airways to teach the faith in a way that viewers of his day could connect to.

It’s no wonder there is a movement to have him beatified. The diocesan phase of the cause – the phase in which officials his home diocese meet with people who knew him or were touched by his work and gather evidence to show he lived a life of heroic virtues – was closed in 2008 and the related documents were sent to the Vatican.

The Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation recently made it known that there is a possible miracle to support Archbishop Sheen’s cause. That case is being studied in Rome. The mother of the little boy believed to have been healed through Sheen’s intercession posted on her blog a message sent to her by the Fulton Sheen Foundation saying that a committee of bishops and archbishop at the Vatican’s congregation for the causes of saints will be reviewing the materials regarding Archbishop Sheen’s life May 15.

If the Vatican committee finds that Archbishop Sheen lived a life of heroic virtues, he could be declared “venerable.” Then the Vatican would look at the alleged miracle to determine whether it was indeed a miracle and whether it can be attributed to Archbishop Sheen’s intercession

Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service

Pope entrusts a special intention to concentration camp martyrs

A martyr from the Dachau concentration camp has been beatified — and Pope Benedict has entrusted to him, and all the martyrs of concentration camps, the cause for peace.

Speaking at his Sunday Angelus, the Holy Father gave thanks for the “heroic witness” of Fr. Alois Andritzki.

The 28-year old priest was accused by the Nazis of “hostile statements” and confined to the Dachau concentration camp. Catholic News Service writes: In 1943, “after more than a year in the camp, sick with typhoid, he asked a guard if he could receive Communion. Instead, they gave him a lethal injection.”

Noting the many “who gave their lives in the name of Christ in the concentration camps,” the Pontiff continued:

On this day of Pentecost, I would like to entrust to their intercession the cause of peace in the world. May the Holy Spirit inspire courageous proposals for peace and support the effort to advance it, that dialogue might prevail over arms and respect for man’s dignity overcome party interests. May the Spirit, who is the bond of communion, rectify hearts twisted by egoism and help the human family to rediscover and carefully safeguard its fundamental unity.

The prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, Cardinal Angelo Amato, celebrated the beatification Mass of Fr. Alois Andritzki today in Dresden.

Communications and China highlight May Papal intentions

On May 1st we celebrated the Beatification of John Paul II. That 1.5 million (!) people gathered in Rome for this historic event is a testament to the connection that the Polish Pontiff had with the faithful. He was a great communicator — and some consider that one of the lasting hallmarks of his life.

It’s appropriate then, that Pope Benedict XVI’s general prayer intention for this month centre’s on communication media:

That those working in communication media may respect the truth, solidarity, and dignity of all people.

The intention also coincides nicely with the Catholic bloggers meeting that is happening now at the Vatican — you can read about that here.

The Pope’s missionary intention is for the Church in China:

That the Lord may help the Church in China persevere in fidelity to the Gospel and grow in unity.

And of course, May is the month of Mary. In his homily at the Beatification, Pope Benedict highlighted the importance of Mary in John Paul II’s life. Noting John Paul II’s faith, he said “the beatitude of faith has its model in Mary.” While we keep the Pope’s intentions in our prayers this month, perhaps it would be good opportunity to pray to Mary, and Blessed John Paul II, for a deeper, and stronger faith.

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CNS photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo

 

The meaning of John Paul’s beatification

Salt + Light CEO, Father Thomas Rosica offered this reflection prior to the beatification of John Paul II on Holy Post, the National Post’s religion blog.

The meaning of John Paul’s beatification
Father Thomas Rosica
National Post – Canada

On Sunday, in a formal, public ceremony before hundreds of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI will proclaim “blessed” Karol Wojtyla — Pope John Paul II.  For beatification, the Vatican requires proof of a miracle attributed to the candidate’s intercession, unless the candidate was martyred for his or her faith.

In the case of Pope John Paul II, the miracle accepted and confirmed was that of the healing from Parkinson’s disease of a 48-year-old French nun.  The second miracle — the one needed for canonization — must take place after the beatification ceremony and is seen as God’s final seal of approval on the church’s declaration of holiness. That a person is declared “blessed” is not a statement about perfection.  It does not mean that the person was without imperfection, blindness, deafness or sin. Nor is it a 360-degree evaluation of the pontificate or of the Vatican. Beatification and canonization are about personal holiness.

From his childhood, Wojtyla faced hardships that tested his faith and trust in God. He lost his mother when he was nine  years old and three years later lost his only brother to scarlet fever. His father died when Karol was 20. His vocation was slowly confirmed during the dramatic events and years of the Second World War. As a young man, Karol was an actor with a local theater group and a robust athlete who loved the mountains and lakes, and an accomplished poet.

He knew the hardship of labour as he cut stones at a rock quarry. He also assisted his friends in smuggling Jews to safety during he Holocaust.

Continue reading

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Image: CNS photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo

“What John Paul II asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do” – Full text of beatification homily

The following is the full text of the homily of Pope Benedict XVI, preached today at the Mass of Beatification of John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square.

Homily of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Beatification of Pope John Paul II
Sunday, 1 May 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Six years ago we gathered in this Square to celebrate the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Our grief at his loss was deep, but even greater was our sense of an immense grace which embraced Rome and the whole world: a grace which was in some way the fruit of my beloved predecessor’s entire life, and especially of his witness in suffering. Even then we perceived the fragrance of his sanctity, and in any number of ways God’s People showed their veneration for him. For this reason, with all due respect for the Church’s canonical norms, I wanted his cause of beatification to move forward with reasonable haste. And now the longed-for day has come; it came quickly because this is what was pleasing to the Lord: John Paul II is blessed!

I would like to offer a cordial greeting to all of you who on this happy occasion have come in such great numbers to Rome from all over the world – cardinals, bishops and priests, official delegations, ambassadors and civil authorities, consecrated men and women and lay faithful, and I extend that greeting to all those who join us by radio and television.

Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday. The date was chosen for today’s celebration because, in God’s providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. Today is also the first day of May, Mary’s month, and the liturgical memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. All these elements serve to enrich our prayer, they help us in our pilgrimage through time and space; but in heaven a very different celebration is taking place among the angels and saints! Even so, God is but one, and one too is Christ the Lord, who like a bridge joins earth to heaven. At this moment we feel closer than ever, sharing as it were in the liturgy of heaven.

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Rite of Beatification: What are they saying?

The following is an unofficial English translation of the Rite of Beatification of John Paul II, pronounced moments ago in St. Peter’s Square.

RITE OF BEATIFICATION

1. CARDINAL AGOSTINO VALLINI, VICAR GENERAL OF ROME:

Beatissimo Padre, il Vicario Generale di Vostra Santità per la Diocesi di Roma domanda umilmente alla Santità Vostra di voler iscrivere nel numero dei Beati il Venerabile Servo di Dio Giovanni Paolo II, papa.

Holy Father, the Vicar General of your Holiness for the Diocese of Rome, humbly requests that the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II, Pope, be numbered among the blessed.

2.POPE BENEDICT XVI:

Noi, accogliendo il desiderio del Nostro Fratello Agostino Cardinale Vallini, Nostro Vicario Generale per la Diocesi di Roma, di molti altri Fratelli nell’Episcopato e di molti fedeli, dopo aver avuto il parere della Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi, con la Nostra Autorità Apostolica concediamo che il Venerabile Servo di Dio Giovanni Paolo II, papa, d’ora in poi sia chiamato Beato e che si possa celebrare la sua festa nei luoghi e secondo le regole stabilite dal diritto, ogni anno il 22 ottobre. Nel nome del Padre e del Figlio e dello Spirito Santo.

We, welcoming the desire of our brother Cardinal Augostino Vallini, our Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome, our brother Bishops and many lay faithful, after hearing the opinion of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, by our apostolic authority we declare that the venerable Servant of God John Paul II, Pope, henceforth shall be called Blessed and that his feast shall be celebrated every year of the 22 of October, in the places and according to the norms established by Church law. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

3. CARDINAL VALLINI:

Beatissimo Padre, il Vicario Generale di Vostra Santità per la Diocesi di Roma ringrazia la Santità Vostra per aver oggi proclamato Beato il Venerabile Servo di Dio Giovanni Paolo II, papa.

Holy Father, the Vicar General of your Holiness for the the Diocese of Rome thanks your Holiness for proclaiming today the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II, Pope, as blessed.

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CNS file photo by Arturo Mari

Salt + Light celebrates John Paul II’s beatification this weekend

The crowds shouted “Santo Subito” — Sainthood now! – at his funeral, and now some six years later he’ll be joining the ranks of the saints!

This Sunday Pope John Paul II will be declared Blessed.

Our coverage for the Beatification Mass begins at 3:30am ET/12:30am PT on May 1st, and includes our production Thank You, John Paul II. Catholic News Service Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis will also weigh in, and I will be joined by Deacon Paul Hrynczyszyn of the Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario. Deacon Paul is just one week away from his ordination to the priesthood — and nearly nine years removed from when he read in front of John Paul II at World Youth Day Toronto’s Evening Vigil! The Beatification Mass itself will begin at 4am ET/1am PT, and we will be repeated throughout Sunday.

The day before, on Saturday, April 30th, there is a special prayer vigil from Rome’s Circus Maximus in anticipation of Pope John Paul II’s beatification. This evening has two parts: the first part will recall the words and actions of the Polish Pontiff, and includes testimonies from John Paul II’s personal secretary for 40 years Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, director of Vatican Press Office from 1984-2006 and Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, and Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre, the French nun whose cure from Parkinson’s was the miracle that paved the way for John Paul’s beatification. The second part of the evening will be a praying of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.  The prayer vigil will be broadcast live, with Vatican Radio translation, at 2pm ET / 11am PT.

For full broadcast details, including encore presentations and other John Paul II related programming, visit here.

Join us this weekend and celebrate the life of Pope John Paul II!

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CNS file photo by Arturo Mari

 

A Wave of Mercy Flows From the Wound in His Heart — A Biblical Reflection for Divine Mercy Sunday

“Doubting Thomas” is a term often used to describe someone who refuses to believe something without direct, personal evidence; a skeptic.

It refers of course to Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles, whose name occurs in all the Gospel lists of the apostles. Thomas is called “Didymus,” the Greek form of an Aramaic name meaning “twin.”

When Jesus announced his intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus, Thomas said to his fellow disciples: “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). It was Thomas who, during the great discourse after the Last Supper, raised an objection: “Lord, we do not know where you are going; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5).

Little else is recorded of Thomas the Apostle in the New Testament, nevertheless, thanks to John’s Gospel text for today (John 20:19-31), his personality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve.

Thomas would have listened to Jesus’ words, and he certainly experienced dismay at Jesus’ death. That Easter evening when the Lord appeared to the disciples, Thomas was not present. When he was told that Jesus was alive and had shown himself, Thomas stated: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

Eight days later, Thomas made his act of faith, drawing down the rebuke of Jesus — “Because you have seen me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

The real Thomas

Thomas the Apostle is one of the greatest and most honest of the lovers of Jesus, not the eternal skeptic, nor the bullish, stubborn personality that Christian tradition has often painted. This young apostle stood before the cross, not comprehending the horrors of what had happened. All his dreams and hopes were hanging on that cross.

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