Category Archives: Sainthood causes

Romero’s beatification date set

Romero posterAfter years of reading and talking and listening to the case for Archbishop Oscar Romero’s beatification, Pope Francis heard the final testimony that it was the hatred for the Catholic faith that Romero was killed. He declared his intention to name Romero a martyr.

A CNS story talks about the recent decision to beatify Oscar Romero and set the date of Saturday, May 23, 2015 as the day for the ceremony in El Salvador. This is the eve of Pentecost this year. The Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes for Saints will offer the Mass and the rite of beatification, Cardinal Angelo Amato.

Carlos X gives this analysis of the connection with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and Romero’s beatification:

[the day can be understood] as a retrospective on his ministry as a bishop, and as a meditation on the great charge that Romero sought to fulfill.

  • First, Romero died during Lent and was buried on Palm Sunday.  It seems sadly and sweetly fitting that he should return after Easter, resurrected not only in his people but in his Church, in which he will be raised to the honor of its altars.
  • Second, this Pentecost will be the 40th anniversary of Romero’s first pastoral letter, “The Holy Spirit in the Church,” issued in May 1975 while he was Bishop of Santiago de Maria.  Many will want to read that pastoral letter; they will find that it serves as an apt road map for the bishop that was Oscar Romero, and that he was faithful to its most fervent objectives.
  • Finally, Pentecost is the inspiration for the Second Vatican Council, and the Latin American bishops’ synods at Medellín (1968) and Puebla (1979), which guided Romero’s ministry.  It is impossible to read Romero’s episcopate but through the prism of these modern “Cenacles.”

Tomas Munk, and father, cause for beatification advances

Munk familyArchbishop Stanislav Zvolenský, archbishop of Bratislava, will preside at the ceremony of the closure of the diocesan process of the cause for  beatification and sainthood of the Jesuit novice Tomáš Munk and his father František on April 20, 2015.

The Family Munk were  Jewish converts to Catholicism in 1939. Tomáš entered the novitiate in Ružomberok in 1943. Due to the Nazi ideology against Jewish people, the Munk family were captured by Nazis at the end of 1944. Tomáš was captured in novitiate and later was deported together with his father to the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. Father and son were shot to death during the death march from Sachsenhausen to Berlin on April 20, 1945.

Another good example of holiness in families. I wrote about Tomas in 2009 here at the Communio blog.

Saints in one family

Leonie MartinA while ago I borrowed a phrase: saints beget saints. This seems to be VERY  true –even, and most importantly, in families. Of course, there there are many good examples of family members being raised to the honor of the altar. We need more witnesses to Christ Jesus as saints.

On January 25, 2015 -news was received that another member of the famous Martin family will be studied for a proposal for beatification and canonization. In history she was known as Léonie  Martin, in religion she took the name of Sister Françoise-Thérèse. She was the daughter of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin and  the sister of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

Sister Françoise-Thérèse was a professed member of the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen, France, where she died in 1941 at the age of 78.

The story:  The opening of the diocesan process for Leonie’s sainthood is to be announced in France today.  

Miriam Teresa Demjanovich –an American blessed

Miriam TeresaToday, the Catholic Church in America witnessed the beatification of a woman Sr. Miriam Teresa –the fourth American-born woman to be beatified. This is the first time a beatification ceremony happened in the USA. The Mass and rite was offered by Cardinal Angelo Amato in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ.

Interesting, our new blessed was a member of the Eastern Catholic Church in the United States. She was a member, however, of a religious order of the Latin Church, the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth. Her feast day is May 8. The Blessed’s book, Greater Perfection, published after her death remains germane to those interested in the spiritual life.

The Vatican Radio interview with Bishop Kurt Burnette (eparchial bishop of the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Passaic) notes very well the importance of Blessed Miriam Teresa for us: her understanding of the sacrament of Baptism, her teaching on prayer, her desire to be of complete service to the Triune God. As the bishop says, Americans are known for their activism; and the other American blesseds and saints are known for their activity in building up the Mystical Body of Christ –the Church, but her God has chosen to raise up for us a model of holiness who is a contemplative.

“Bishop Burnette reflected on the impact of her legacy on Eastern and Western spirituality.

“One of the remarkable things about her writings, I believe, is that she brings an Eastern Christian spirit of unity into the Western analysis. The Western theology tends to be analytical. For example, when she talks about prayer, in the West they had divided prayer up into three stages. What they called the purgative, the illuminative and the unitive. But Sr. Miriam Teresa claims that prayer always includes all three parts.”

Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to Sr. Miriam Therese when a young boy who lost his eyesight due to macular degeneration was cured after prayers through her intercession. For Bishop Burnette, this miracle along with her profound humility, spirituality and insight are clear signs of God’s confirmation of her sanctity. “I don’t believe we really choose who is going to be canonized, God does,” he concluded.

Alvaro Del Portillo declared “Blessed” in Madrid

Bl Alvaro del PortilloShortly after the elected of Francis to the Throne of Peter, he approved of the miracle that would lead to his beatification. His first miracle, if you are interested, concerned a case in 2003 where a Chilean baby boy’s heart started beating despite doctors’ failed 30-minute efforts to resuscitate him. The boy’s parents prayed to Del Portillo for his intercession from God to save their child. From all reports the child lives a normal life, going to school and playing soccer.

In the car last evening I was listening to various news services and NPR had a story –none of the other international services did– of the beatification of Del Portillo. But the real story seemed not the beatification of a man known for holiness but his connection to Opus Dei famously derided in Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. I fail to see what one thing really has to do with another.

Saint Josemaría Escrivá’s original vision for Opus Dei has nothing to do with the political monikers of being liberal or conservative. Many will frame the group in these terms out ignorance. Opus Dei –a Latin concept meaning “The Work of God”– is about encouraging Catholics to know their ordinary, everyday work and life as a path to holiness. In other words, we are all called in whatever our work is, to the universal call to holiness; a strong emphasis of the Second Vatican Council and many saints. Religion is NOT just for 47 minutes on a Sunday morning where you put your money in the parking meter.

So, what ought to be admired about Opus Dei is the group’s emphasis and witness on the dignity of the laity. This same emphasis is also seen in two other ecclesial movements in the Church: Communion and Liberation and Focolare. But, The Work of God since its founding in 1928 has a significant challenge to the ultra-clerical attitudes of our Church while raising up the beauty of being a lay Christian and building up the Mystical Body of the Church.

Blessed Alvaro Del Portillo’s style was humble and faithful to the charism he was given by God to fulfill in history. His reputable for holiness is well-regarded and and substantiated. Del Portillo worked with Saint Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei for more than 40 years, and later his successor as the group’s leader until 1994.

Opus Dei is a lay organization in the Church with more than 90K members; only 2,073 are priests.

Blessed Alvaro, pray for us.

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]yahoo.com.
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