06 July 2013

Saints Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

Yesterday, 5 JULY 2013, amid a number of other significant events at the Vatican, Holy Father Pope Francis received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, and authorized the Church's recognition of two of our Blessed Holy Fathers as Saints of the heavenly realm: Saint Pope John XXIII and Saint Pope John Paul II.

The faithful have yearned for the recognition of the great Pope John Paul II as a saint in the heavenly homeland since his death in 2005. Now, traveling forward only eight years through a process that can sometimes take a century or better, the Holy Father has confirmed a second miracle attributed the intercession of Blessed Pope John Paul II and approved the promulgation of the decree of his canonization. The Holy Father also yesterday convoked a special consistory of the College of Cardinals to discuss in depth the canonization of the great Pope.

Oft referred to as the Good Pope John, yesterday also saw the somewhat unusual movement of Pope John XIII from the ranks of Blessed to the altars of sainthood following Holy Father Pope Francis' approval the favorable votes of the Ordinary Session of the Congregations of Cardinals and Bishops regarding his cause for canonization. The Vatican spokesman, Father Lombardi, S.J., said yesterday that despite the absence of a second miracle that has been confirmed by the Church as attributable to Blessed Pope John XXIII's intercession, it was the will of Pope Francis that the "Sainthood of the great Pope of the Second Vatican Council be recognized."

Father Lombardi continued, noting that a canonization without a second confirmed miracle is nonetheless valid and that there is already an existing confirmed miracle that led to the Good Pope's beatification. Certainly, Father Lombardi added, the Holy Father has the power to dispense the requirement for a second miracle.

However, no dates were given yesterday, neither of the special consistory nor the canonizations of the two beloved predecessors of Pope Francis. However, Father Lombardi did not rule out that the canonizations of the both Popes would be held together, and he did express his opinion that they would take place before the end of 2013. Any date will be set during the special consistory, which will likely be held this Fall.

A nod of thanks, too, to Father Z, for his insightful thoughts here on the announcement of the canonization of these two great Pontiffs together and during this 50th anniversary year of Vatican Council II.

05 July 2013

Consecration of Vatican City State to Saints Joseph and Michael, Archangel

5 JULY 2013. Today, the Holy Father Francis, with His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, in attendance, consecrated the Vatican City State to Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Joseph. A new statue of Saint Michael the Archangel, by artist Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio who was first commissioned to produce the work during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, was also dedicated in the Vatican gardens. Below are the remarks of his holiness, Pope Francis:

Lord Cardinals, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,

Distinguished Gentlemen and Ladies!

We have gathered here in the Vatican Gardens to inaugurate a monument to Saint Michael the Archangel, patron of Vatican City State. It is an initiative planned some time ago, with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, to whom always go our affection and gratitude and to whom we wish to express our great joy to have him present here in our midst today. My heartfelt thank you!

I am grateful to the Presidency of the Governorate, in particular to Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, for his cordial words, to the offices and workmen involved in bringing this about. I also thank Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, President Emeritus of the Governorate, for his presentation to us of the works carried out and the results attained. A word of appreciation goes to the sculptor, Mr. Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio, and to the benefactor, Mr. Claudio Chiais, who are present here. Thank you!

There are several artistic works in the Vatican Gardens; however, this one, which is added today, assumes a place of particular importance, be it for its location, be it for the meaning it expresses. In fact, it’s not only a celebratory work, but an invitation to reflection and prayer, which is well inserted in the Year of Faith. Michael – which means: “Who is like unto God?” – is the champion of God’s primacy, of His transcendence and power. Michael fights to re-establish divine justice; he defends the People of God from its enemies and above all of the enemy par excellence, the devil. And Saint Michael triumphs because it is God who acts in him. This sculpture, then, reminds us that evil has been vanquished, the accuser is unmasked, his head is crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the Blood of Christ. Even if the devil always tries to scratch the Archangel’s face and man’s face, God is stronger; the victory is His and His salvation is offered to every man. We are not alone in life’s journey and trials; we are accompanied and sustained by the Angels of God who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us surmount so many dangers, to be able to fly high in regard to those realities that can weigh down our life or drag us down. On consecrating Vatican City State to Saint Michael the Archangel, we ask him to defend us from the Evil One and to cast him outside.

Dear brothers and sisters, we consecrate Vatican City State also to Saint Joseph, the custodian of Jesus, the custodian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our life to overcome evil always with good. We ask him to guard us, to take care of us, so that the life of grace will grow every day more in each of us.
[Translation by ZENIT]

IMAGES: Photos courtesy of News.va