Pope Canonizes 5 New Saints
Jordan Yerman | October 12, 2009 at 03:00 pmby
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Pope Benedict XVI has canonized five new saints:
- Father Damien (Jozef De Veuster), who tended to sufferers of leprosy on Molokai
- Zygmunt Szcezesny Felinski, who defended the Catholic Church as Poland was annexed by Russia
- Jeanne Jugan, a French nun who co-founded Little Sisters of the Poor
- Francisco Coll y Guitart, 19th Centruy Dominican
- Rafael Aráiz Barón, who renounced his wealthy background to dedicate himself to prayer
In his homily, Benedict urged the faithful to learn from “the luminous examples of these saints,” men and women who “did not put themselves at the center but chose to go against the current and live according to the Gospel.”
How do you become a saint? Well, it can take decades... or longer. Oh, and you have to be dead, since one of your miracles must be posthumous. Even when the role of the devil's advocate, who was charged with attacking existing evidence in favor of sainthood, was phased out, it's still a slow and difficult process.
A local bishop investigates the candidate's life and writings for evidence of heroic virtue. The information uncovered by the bishop is sent to the Vatican. A panel of theologians and the cardinals of the Congregation for Cause of Saints evaluate the candidate's life. If the panel approves, the pope proclaims that the candidate is venerable, which means that the person is a role model of Catholic virtues. The next step toward sainthood is beatification, which allows a person to be honored by a particular group or region. In order to beatify a candidate, it must be shown that the person is responsible for a posthumous miracle. Martyrs -- those who died for their religious cause -- can be beatified without evidence of a miracle. On Oct. 20, 2003, Mother Teresa was beatified. She is now known as Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata. In order for the candidate to be considered a saint, there must be proof of a second posthumous miracle. If there is, the person is canonized.
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