Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two U.S. saints to be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI this weekend

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
By USCCB

WASHINGTON — Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI will canonize seven saints including two Americans: Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint; and Blessed Mother Marianne Cope, who spent the last 30 years of her life ministering to the sick on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

The canonization Mass will take place at the Vatican Oct. 21.

"Kateri's life is a witness not only to the cost of discipleship – she bore a great deal of suffering for her faith among her own people – but also to its fruitfulness," said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, chairman of the of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Native American Affairs. "She reminds us that Jesus came for all people in every age, but especially for the lowly, whom God loves in a special way."

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, of Algonquin and Mohawk descent, is also known as the "Lily of the Mohawks." She was born in 1656, became an orphan as a child and was raised by her uncle, the chief of the Mohawk village. A smallpox epidemic left her eyesight impaired and her face scarred for life. Despite the anger of her relatives, Kateri was drawn to the faith by the teachings of missionary priests. She ran away to Montreal, Canada, where she practiced her faith with freedom.

Blessed Marianne Cope joined the Sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York, in 1862.She became a leader in the field of healthcare, often caring for those considered "outcasts," which then led her to volunteer in the Hawaiian island of Molokai where she took care of the lepers and the poor.

"While Mother Marianne was most noted for her selfless and cheerful work with leprosy patients in Hawaii, it should also be noted that the majority of people she served were Hawaiians," said Bishop Clarence Silva of Honolulu, a member of USCCB's Subcommittee on Asian Pacific Island Affairs. "In this Year of Faith, we thank God for these beautiful models of women who embraced the sufferings of life and who nevertheless exuded great joy because they were so in love with Jesus."

Among other saints to be canonized is martyr Pedro Calungsod of the Philippines, a lay catechist who suffered religious persecution.

As many as 4,000 pilgrims from at least 15 dioceses and archdioceses around the nation are expected to attend the canonization events. The largest pilgrimages are being organized by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and Tekakwitha Conference, and the dioceses of Syracuse and Albany in New York, and Honolulu, Hawaii.

The canonization Mass will be aired Oct. 21, from 12:30 to 3:30 a.m. Pacific on EWTN, and it will be rerun at 8 a.m. Pacific.

More information on these saints can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/new-saints.cfm.

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