Category Archives: Sainthood causes

Blessed Brother André moves closer to sainthood

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When I was a high school student at Notre Dame High School in West Haven, CT, I learned about Brother André but sadly the Brothers of Holy Cross didn’t make too much of Brother André. I thought this was weird. The only saint candidate among the Brothers of Holy Cross and nothing much said to the students, faculty, alumni or benefactors. Really, knowing Brother André’s story is to be filled with gratitude for the witness to simple, deep faith, the tenacity of his devotion and his virtue in the face of disappointment. Mind you, it is reported that he had a cold personality. A friend in Canada emailed me to tell me that Blessed André’s cause for canonization is closer, elevation to the altars for God’s praise and glory.

Brother André was born Alfred Bessette in 1845, the eighth of 12 children in a family in the farming village of St. Grégoire, 40 about miles southeast of Montreal. When Brother André died in January 1937, more than one million people filed past his coffin. It is estimated that ten million people have signed the petition calling for his sainthood and petitioning God to make desire possible.

About two weeks ago the Theological Commission for the Causes of Saints unanimously accepted the healing intercession of Blessed Brother André, the pious porter at the Collège Notre Dame; he later established Saint Joseph’s Oratory and is credited with healing the sick, the lame and the blind. A commission of cardinals and bishops will now the Theological Commission’s report on Brother André before recommending the cause for canonization to Pope Benedict XVI.

Blessed André is the latest Canadian to be studied for sainthood. If he’s canonized he’ll join a short of others. Besides the Northern American Martyrs, there’s Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys and Saint Marie Marguerite d’Youville. There are 15 Blesseds waiting for their causes to be advanced.

Cardinal Terrence Cooke: 26th anniv. of death

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Twenty-six years ago today God called Terrence James
Cardinal Cooke
, 62, to Himself. Under the motto of “Thy Will be Done” and at
the age of 47, he was nominated archbishop of New York, succeeding Cardinal
Spellman. The Cardinal lived his life in dedication to the Lord, often quiet
and formal. His cause for canonization was introduced in 1992 and named a
Servant of God by Pope John Paul II.

Almighty and eternal Father, we thank you
for the exemplary life and gentle kindness of your son and bishop, Terence
Cooke. If it be your gracious will, grant that the virtues of your servant may
be recognized and provide a lasting example for your people. We pray through
Our Lord Jesus Christ your son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

McGivney’s cause for beatification takes another step

The cause for beatification and eventual sainthood of Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, took
another step on September 22, 2009, with the submission of a supplemental report on
a potential miracle attributed to the priest’s intercession.

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The Knights of
Columbus announced today that officials from a supplemental tribunal of the
Archdiocese of Hartford -of which Fr. McGivney was a parish priest- formally
sent a new report to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints
through Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, the current postulator of McGivney’s cause. The
information gathered by the tribunal included testimonies from witnesses to the
supposed miracle as well as the statements of several medical doctors about the
circumstances surrounding the reported miracle. Dominican Father Gabriel B. O’Donnell,
the current vice-postulator and former postulator, has worked on the cause for a number
of years with the assistance of a variety people, not least was Millie Millea, the
former secretary at the McGivney Guild.

In the context praying Sext (midday
prayer), the brief ceremony in which the new report was signed and presented to
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell was attended by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, other
Supreme Officers and other Knights of Columbus officials, three relatives of
Father McGivney and a number of archdiocesan officials.

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The submission of the
new report “marks an important step forward. The Vatican’s Congregation for the
Causes of Saints will now have valuable additional testimony that clarifies and
adds significantly to the original submission,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson

“Father McGivney’s beatification would be an important event,” Anderson
added, “not only for Knights of Columbus, but for the many thousands of parish
priests who quietly do the Lord’s work in parishes each day and regard him as
an outstanding example for priests everywhere.  In this ‘Year for Priests’
it is an especially appropriate step forward.” When beatified, McGivney will be
the first US diocesan priest beatified.

The cause for Father McGivney’s
sainthood was opened by Hartford Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin in December 1997. In 2000, the cause was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints;  Pope Benedict XVI declared
him “Venerable Servant of God” on March 15, 2008.

Father McGivney founded the
Knights of Columbus in 1882 and died on August 14, 1890 at the age of 38. At the time of
the founding of the Knights of Columbus he was a curate at Saint Mary’s Church
(New Haven, CT).

For pictures of the event see this link.

[this articled was first published at CNA and edited for

Blessed Mother Teresa: 12th anniversary of death

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)

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26 August 1910 to 5 September 1997

celebration of Mother Teresa should remind us that the work of mercy, charity
and compassion still have a fundamental place in our being disciples of Jesus
today. During her life Mother put into practice in many ways Charity in
(Fr Cedric Prakash, SJ, Sept. 5, 2009).

Saint John Paul? Some say no

Eric Giunta, a law student in Florida takes a look at some reasons why Pope John Paul II ought not be beatified with subsequent canonization in mind. For the record, I think Eric Giunta is off his rocker in his assessment of John Paul’s holiness and heroic virtue, human and papal. He lumps too many things together and he lacks certain theological nuance in doctrine and teaching and when considering matters of ecclesial governance. Additionally, I think he’s trying to hammer a wedge between the papacies of John Paul and that of Benedict which is unfortunate and wrongheaded. Giunta politicizes the Church which is common enough in today’s era, that is, he speaks of the Church more as an institution and does not consider that the Church is first and foremost a sacrament founded by Christ. Miss this point you miss the essential understanding of Christianity.

While I support the proposal of declaring John Paul a saint, I think the Church ought to wait and have further study on his person and work. Pope John Paul insisted on the five year waiting period before the introduction of a cause (except for Mother Teresa) to let among other things, the emotions to settle and give reason a chance to work; I think the rule is a good one even for high profile people like Teresa and John Paul. There is benefit in letting the process mature. So, dissenting opinions provoke a critical reassessment and perhaps new thinking so I recommend reading what Eric Giunta says

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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