The Italian Franciscan priest, Fr Gabriele Maria Allegra, who translated the entire Bible into Chinese for the first time, will be beatified next month, reports Vatican Insider.
The beatification of the man known as “the Saint Jerome of China” will take place ten years after Pope John Paul II first recognised a miracle through his intercession in 2002.
The ceremony should have taken place on October 2002, but the Holy See decided to postpone it because at that time relations were particularly tense with China following the canonisation of the Chinese martyrs in the year 2000.
Moreover, the Vatican was also concerned about further possible negative reactions from the Chinese authorities who had criticised the Franciscan for some allegedly anti-Communist writings.
On August 15, however, the Holy See announced, through the Sicilian Province of the Franciscans, that the authorisation had been given for his beatification to take place, but in Sicily, the land of his birth, not in Hong Kong. This decision appears to have been taken out of a desire not to ruffle Chinese sensibilities.
Father Joseph Ha, who heads the Order of Friars Minor in Hong Kong, told the UCA News that the announcement came as “a surprise to many of us.” When asked if Italy has been chosen as the venue for the ceremony in order to avoid provoking the Beijing government, he said it was “a good guess, very reasonable.”
FULL STORY Italian priest who translated Bible into Chinese will be beatified (Vatican Insider)