IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring
By Junno Arocho Esteves
CITY (CNS) — The church’s newest saints represent a diverse group of people who
offer encouragement and hope to Christians today through their example, a
Brazilian bishop said.
like the “Martyrs of Natal,” Brazil, offer a “new opportunity, hope and a renewal of
faith” that can bring peace to a world battered by injustice, war and
violence, Archbishop Jaime
Vieira Rocha of Natal
told journalists Oct. 13 during a press briefing.
grace of their canonization will certainly help create a society that is less
vengeful, less violent, more fraternal,” and encourage Catholics to stand
up “for the dignity of the people,” he said.
tapestries depicting each of the soon-to-be canonized saints — who hail from
Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Spain — draped the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica as
workers busily prepared the square
for the Oct. 15 Mass to be
presided over by Pope Francis.
“Martyrs of Natal” — Blessed Andre de Soveral, a Jesuit priest; Blessed Ambrosio Francisco Ferro, a diocesan
priest; Blessed Mateus Moreira,
a layman; and 27 others —
were killed in 1645 in a wave of anti-Catholic persecution carried out
by Dutch Calvinists in Natal, Brazil.
Father Julio Cesar Souza Cavalcante, an expert on their cause, told journalists
that the 30 Brazilian martyrs — which included priests, laymen and laywomen,
families, husbands, wives, children and youth — are models for all Catholics,
especially in Brazil today, who want to follow the pope’s call for a
“church on the move” that goes out and gives public witness to their
is always this witness. And to give this witness of faith in a country that
today is in an economic, security and health crisis, it is a witness that it is
possible to go forward, it is possible to do more,” Father Souza said.
“Child Martyrs of Tlaxcala,”
Mexico — Blesseds
Cristobal, Antonio and Juan — will also be declared saints by Pope
Francis at the Mass.
children, whose ages range from 12 to 13, were among the first native converts in Mexico and were
killed between 1527 and 1529
for refusing to renounce the faith and return to their people’s ancient
Jorge Ivan Gomez Gomez,
vicar general of the diocese of Tlaxcala, Mexico, told Catholic News Service
that despite their age, the young martyrs proved that “grace acts and that not everything relies
on human effort.”
a Synod of Bishops focusing
on young people taking place in 2018, the child martyrs “are a motivation so that
young men and women may be agents of the evangelization in their own
families” and confront the idols of the modern world.
people are immersed in a series of idolatries, which they sometimes passively
accept,” Msgr. Gomez said. “The martyrs, at their age, had the
capacity to confront idolatries that were common in so many places” at the
pope will also canonize Blessed
Angelo of Acri, an Italian Capuchin
priest who was born Luca Antonio Falcone. He died in 1739 and was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1825.
famed preacher, Blessed Angelo proclaimed the good news of the Gospel “in
a simple, concrete way and not just by saying words,” Capuchin Brother Carlo Calloni, postulator of
cause, told CNS.
was also known for his defense of the poor and “knew how to raise his
voice against the powerful of that time,” Brother Calloni said.
he added, Blessed Angelo combined
his sharp wit and intelligence with mercy when it came to the confessional,
often spending long hours listening to repentant men and women seeking
Brother Calloni said the
Capuchin priest’s zeal for saving souls can serve as an example for the
church’s mission in reaching out to those who have become distant from their faith.
Angelo can be the model for those who seek a new way to bring the proclamation (of the
Gospel) to the world and that it may be heard by the people,” he said.
Pope Francis will also canonize Blessed Faustino Miguez, a
Spanish priest and a member of the Piarist Fathers born in 1831. He started an advanced
school for girls at a time when such education was limited almost exclusively
Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.
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