Tag Archives: sainthood causes

Father Paolo Molinari dies at 90

Paolo MolinariIf you follow the process of studying candidates for sainthood you will undoubtedly know the name of Father Paolo Molinari, an Italian Jesuit. He was missioned by the Society of Jesus, since 1957, to shepherd various causes for recognition as blesseds and saints. At his death, the Society said it thinks Father Paolo brought more than 46 causes to beatification or canonization which includes more than 150 persons now honored as blessed or saints.

On May 2, 2014, Father Paolo Molnari met the Lord of the Harvest; Father died in Rome.

Father Paolo Molnari is the man who knew lots about saints. He once described saints as “ordinary people living in a way that ordinary people don’t; doing good beyond what good people do.”

Professionally, Father Molinari served  as a professor of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and as the president of the Vatican’s College of Postulators; he also advised the Pontiffs on technicalities of the process. Journalists will remember that Molinari was a patient teacher of the Church’s canonization process.

Here is a great–really, exceptional, interview with Father Paolo done by Salt and Light TV (March 27, 2012).

May the Lord receive the soul of Father Paolo by the hands of the saints and blesseds.

Approved miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Fulton Sheen

fulton (2)March 6, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Peoria, IL — The Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Bishop of Peoria and President of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, received word early Thursday morning that the 7-member board of medical experts who advise the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican unanimously approved a reported miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

The case involved a still born baby born in September 2010. For over an hour the child demonstrated no signs of life as medical professionals attempted every possible life saving procedure, while the child’s parents and loved ones began immediately to seek the intercession of Fulton Sheen. After 61 minutes the baby was restored to full life and three years later demonstrates a full recovery.

Today’s decision affirms that the team of Vatican medical experts can find no natural explanation for the child’s healing. The case will next be reviewed by a board of theologians. With their approval the case could move on to the cardinals and bishops who advise the Pope on these matters. Finally, the miracle would be presented to Pope Francis who would then officially affirm that God performed a miracle through the intercession of Fulton Sheen. There is no timeline as to when these next steps might move forward.

“Today is a significant step in the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of our beloved Fulton Sheen, a priest of Peoria and a Son of the Heartland who went on to change the world. There are many more steps ahead and more prayers are needed. But today is a good reason to rejoice,” commented Bishop Jenky.

Fulton Sheen was born May 8, 1895 in El Paso, IL outside of Peoria. His family moved to Peoria so that Fulton and his brothers could attend Catholic school. He grew up in the parish of the Cathedral of St. Mary where he was an altar server and later ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria. After advanced studies and service as a parish priest in the city of Peoria, Fulton Sheen was a professor of philosophy and religion at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In the 1930s he became a popular radio personality and later a TV pioneer. His weekly TV program, “Life is Worth Living” eventually reached 30 million viewers and won an Emmy award for outstanding TV program.

From 1950-1966, Bishop Sheen was the national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the United States, the Church’s primary missionary apostolate. In 1966, he was named Bishop of Rochester of New York where he served until his retirement in 1969, when he was named honorary Archbishop by Pope Paul VI. Fulton Sheen died at the entrance to his private chapel in his New York City apartment on December 9, 1979.

In September 2002, Bishop Jenky officially opened the cause for the beatification and canonization of Fulton Sheen. For six years, the Sheen Foundation, the official promoter of the Cause, gathered testimony from around the world and reviewed all of Sheen’s writings, before sending their conclusions to the Vatican. In June 2012, Pope Benedict affirmed the investigation that Sheen had lived a life of heroic virtue and holiness. Sheen was then titled “Venerable.”

Pending further review by the theologians and the cardinals who advise the Pope through the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, should Pope Francis validate this proposed miracle, Sheen could then be declared “Blessed” in a ceremony that could be celebrated in Peoria, Sheen’s hometown. Upon the Holy Father signing the decree for the beatification, an additional miracle would lead to the Canonization of Archbishop Sheen, in which he would be declared a “Saint.”

For more information about Fulton Sheen and the Cause for his canonization, visit: ArchbishopSheenCause.org.

Matteo Ricci sainthood cause moves ahead

Matteo Ricci stamp

A well-known Jesuit missionary to China’s cause for sainthood was advanced today with the closing of the local phase of study. Matteo Ricci’s cause for sanctity is now moved to the Holy See. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints —the office at the Holy See deputed to study the documentation for those proposed for sainthood— was requested to beatify Italian Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect, and his staff of scholars and outside experts, will now pour over lots of documentation.

By the time Ricci entered the Society of Jesus in 1571, the founder, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was dead since 1556. The Jesuits gave Ricci an exceptional education in philosophy,  theology, mathematics, cosmology, and astronomy. In 1578, his Jesuit superiors missioned Ricci to the East Asian mission, and then in 1580 the Jesuit superior Father Alessandro Valignani  sent him to the East Indies the idea of going to China.

Claudio GiuliodoriThe announcement that the diocesan stage was closed was made by the former bishop of the diocese where Matteo Ricci was born. Bishop emeritus Claudio Giuliodori of the Diocese of Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia and now the General Ecclesiastical Assistant of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, said today as the formal diocesan process closed.

The 16th century Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) was favored by Benedict XVI and he’s been mentioned a few times by Pope Francis as a model for evangelization. Ricci was sent by his Jesuit superiors to Asia, namely China to bring the gospel.

His Holiness notably spoke of Father Ricci in his address with the Jesuits who serve as editors to the well-known journal, La Civiltà earlier in 2013 where he reflected on the notion of seeking God in all things with a particular openness to the truth, goodness and beauty of God.

In November, the Pope said of Ricci: “We must always ask forgiveness and look with shame upon the apostolic failures brought about by a lack of courage. I am thinking, for example, of the pioneering intuitions of Matteo Ricci which, at the time, were abandoned.”

No pontiff, though, has spoken with force about the positive work in evangelization than Pope Benedict XVI. See these previous blog posts here, here AND here.

Father Ricci brought with him his mathematical and astronomical training to China and studied the Chinese language, literature, history, and culture which earned him accolades from the Emperor as a scholar. Ricci faced criticism from European Jesuit and Church superiors for what was perceived as a deviation in standard modalities of evangelization.

Sainthood Cause of the Martyrs of Algeria, opened

Cause of the Martyrs of AlgeriaThe Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (the Trappists) announced that,

On October 7, Archbishop Bader of Algiers, with the agreement of the Abbot General and his Council, appointed Father Thomas Georgeon, monk of La Trappe and present Secretary of the Abbot General, as postulator of the cause of Archbishop Claverie and his 18 companions (among them our 7 brothers of Tibhirine). The appointment was approved by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on October 11, 2013.

The 7 monks of the Monastery of Notre-Dame de l’Atlas were killed 26/27 March 1996. The Atlas Martyrs:

  • Dom Christian (de Chergé) – prior of the community
  • Brother Luc (Paul Dochier)
  • Father Christophe (Lebreton)
  • Brother Michel (Fleury)
  • Father Célestin (Ringeard)
  • Father Bruno (born Christian Lemarchand)
  • Brother Paul (Favre-Miville).

A 2010 film on the monks was released, “Of God and Men” which was well-received.

You may want to read Christian Salenson’s Christian de Chergé: A Theology of Hope (Cistercian Publications, 2012).

Mother Celestine Bottego moved closer to beatification

Pope Francis accepted the findings of the Congregation of Saints today that Mother Celestine Bottego lived a life of heroic virtue. She is now given the title of Venerable Servant of God. Mother Celestine was founder of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary, was born on 20 December 1895, in Glendale, Ohio. She lived in Butte, Montana until she was almost 15, when she then moved with her mother to Italy.

Bottego was teaching English at a school of the Xaverian Fathers; One priest, Father Giacomo Spagnolo, asked her to consider forming a women’s branch of the order. Her discernment led her to form the congregation in 1944. She died in Italy in 1980 at the age of 84. A miracle attributed to Mother Celestine’s intercession still is needed before she can be beatified. She would add brilliantly to the constellation of US saints and blesseds.

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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