Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Church has three new saints


October 23, 2011 - Pope Benedict XVI has marked the Catholic Church’s annual Mission Sunday on 23rd October, declaring two Italians and a Spaniard the Church’s newest saints. The Pope canonized the two men and a woman at a solemn Mass in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The first declared saint is Italian Bishop Guido Maria Conforti, the founder of the Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions, also known as the Xaverian missionaries. In 1895, seven years after becoming a priest, he founded a congregation of consecrated men dedicated to the evangelization of non-Christians. Named bishop of Ravenna in 1902, he was plagued by ill health and decided to resign. But five years later, he was once again named a bishop, this time as head of the Diocese of Parma. He died in 1931 and in 1996 Blessed John Paul II declared him Blessed.
The other Italian saint is Fr. Luigi Guanella, who founded the Servants of Charity, the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, and the Confraternity of St. Joseph, whose members pledge to pray for the sick and dying. Fr. Guanella died in 1915 and Pope Paul VI beatified him on Oct. 25, 1964.
The third saint is Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro from Salamanca, Spain, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and created the "Nazareth workshop" to help poor or unemployed women. She died in 1905.
After the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI so said in English:
Dear brothers and sisters, I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present, especially those here for today’s canonizations. In this Sunday’s Gospel passage, Jesus urges us to love God above all things and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Let us measure our actions every day by his call to love, and live it with courage and joy. May almighty God bless all of you!

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