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Saints in the News: Fall 2021

News from Spain, Rome, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is depicted in a stained-glass window at the saint's shrine chapel in the Washington Heights section of New York City. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Spanish martyrs beatified

Córdoba, Spain—On Oct. 16, Marcello Cardinal Semeraro beatified 127 martyrs of the Spanish Civil War.

According to the Catholic News Agency, “The Spanish Civil War was fought from 1936 to 1939 between the Nationalist forces, led by Francisco Franco, and the Republican faction. During the war, Republicans martyred thousands of clerics, religious, and laity; of these, 11 have been canonized, and more than 2,000 beatified.”

Included in this round of beatifications were 79 priests, 39 laity, five seminarians and four religious.

“Father Juan Elías Medina was arrested July 22, 1936, and in the months of his imprisonment he comforted and spiritually assisted those held with him. Together with 14 others, he was killed Sept. 25,” CNA reported.

“The youngest of those beatified Oct. 16 was Francisco García León, who was 15 at the time of his martyrdom.

“In July 1936 Francisco was “one of the few young people in town who attended Mass daily and received Communion. He always showed joy, politeness and decorum, even in these supremely difficult moments,” the diocese related.

“On July 20, 1936, Republican forces arrived at Francisco’s house to arrest his father. An hour later, they returned to arrest his uncle. It was then that they noticed that a scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was protruding from Francisco’s pocket.

“Francisco was told to throw away his scapular, or be taken to jail. Francisco was arrested, and died July 22 when Republican militias massacred the prisoners in the barracks where he was being held.”

Vatican regulates the role of postulator in saints’ causes

Rome—According to the Herald of Malaysia, the Vatican has introduced formal regulations for postulators — those who help guide the process behind the declaration of a saint in the Catholic Church.

The norms are part of the reform of the administration of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which began in 2016. The regulations for postulators, set out in 86 points, are designed to clarify the tasks and procedures, and to prevent conflicts of interest.

Pope Francis approved the rules at the end of August, and the congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, signed the document on Oct 11.

Documents in Father Atkinson’s cause presented in ceremony

Philadelphia— reports that Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson Perez and officials working on the cause for sainthood of Father Bill Atkinson, the Augustinian who was the first quadriplegic priest in the world to be ordained, affixed signatures and seals for more than 3,000 pages of documentation on the late priest to the Vatican for further review.

Father Atkinson was a beloved faculty member at Msgr. Bonner High School in Upper Darby, Pa., where for some 30 years he served as a teacher, assistant school chaplain, moderator of the football team and director of a detention program affectionately known as “JUG,” or “Justice under God.”

Known for his leadership, compassion, humor and enthusiasm for sports, he died in 2006, having retired from the school two years prior, and is buried in the Augustinian section of Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Pa.

Cardinal Tagle to preside over beatification ceremony

Rome—In a slightly unusual move, Pope Francis has tapped Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to preside over the beatification of Pauline-Marie Jaricot in Lyon, France, next May. Usually, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints officiates at such ceremonies.

However, Jaricot founded the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of Faith and the Association of Living Rosary. That organization is under the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples of which Tagle is the prefect. He was formerly archbishop of Manila.

75th anniversary of the canonization of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Chicago (Chicago Catholic)—This year marks the 75th anniversary of the canonization of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, and to celebrate the occasion, the national shrine to her, located in Lincoln Park, is launching a jubilee year on Nov. 13. The year includes a plenary indulgence for those who make a pilgrimage to the shrine, walk through its holy door and complete the necessary requirements.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Casey, vicar general of the archdiocese, will celebrate Mass at 3:30 p.m. that day, which is St. Frances Cabrini’s feast day, and officially open the shrine’s holy door.

The saint, known by many as Mother Cabrini, had strong ties to Chicago and died there on Dec. 22, 1917.

Holy Name Cathedral will also have a holy door for the jubilee year as a site where Mother Cabrini would have visited and worshipped. A donor has commissioned a statue of Mother Cabrini that will be installed in the cathedral courtyard in October 2022.

Miracle clears Pope John Paul I for beatification

Rome (Vatican News)— Pope Francis on Wednesday 13 October received in audience Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized his dicastery to promulgate the decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Albino Luciani or Pope John Paul I.

The Congregation’s website says it is about the healing of an eleven-year-old girl at the end of her life with “severe acute inflammatory encephalopathy, a malignant refractory epileptic illness and septic shock”. Her situation was very serious, characterized by numerous daily seizures and a septic state of bronchopneumonia. The initiative to invoke the Pope had been taken by the parish priest of the parish under whose jurisdiction was the hospital.

So for Pope John Paul I, who hailed from the northern Italian region of Veneto, the way to beatification has been cleared and Pope Francis will decide upon a date for the ceremony.

Born on 17 October 1912 in Forno di Canale (today Canale d’Agordo), in the province of Belluno, and died on 28 September 1978 in the Vatican, Albino Luciani was Pope for only 34 days, one of the shortest pontificates in history.

In the same audience in which he recognized the miracle attributed to John Paul I, the Holy Father also made the following decrees.

– the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God María Berenice Duque Hencker (née Ana Julia), founder of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Annunciation; born on 14 August 1898 in Salamina, Colombia, and died on 25 July 1993 in Medellín, Colombia;

– the martyrdom of the Servants of God Pedro Ortiz de Zárate, diocesan priest, and Juan Antonio Solinas, professed priest of the Society of Jesus, killed in hatred of the faith on 27 October 1683 in Valle del Zenta, Argentina;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Diego Hernández González, diocesan priest; born on 3 January 1915 in Javalí Nuevo, Spain, and died on 26 January 1976 in Alicante, Spain;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Giuseppe Spoletini (né Rocco Giocondo Pasquale), professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor; born on 16 August 1870 in Civitella (now Bellagra), Italy, and died on 25 March 1951 in Rome, Italy;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Magdeleine of Jesus (née Élisabeth Marie Magdeleine Hutin), founder of the Little Sisters of Jesus; born on 26 April 1898 in Paris, France, and died on 6 November 1989 in Rome, Italy;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Elisabetta Martinez, founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Leuca; born on 25 March 1905 in Galatina, Italy, and died on 8 February 1991 in Rome, Italy.

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About BK O'Neel 29 Articles
BK O’Neel writes from Pennsylvania.

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