Carrying Pope Paul VI’s pastoral staff and wearing the blood-stained belt of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Pope Francis formally recognised them, and five others, as saints of the Catholic Church. Source: CNS.
Thousands of pilgrims from the new saints’ home countries – Italy, El Salvador, Spain and Germany – were joined by tens of thousands of others yesterday in St Peter’s Square to celebrate the universal recognition of the holiness of men and women they already knew were saints.
Each of the new saints lived lives marked by pain and criticism – including from within the Church – but all of them dedicated themselves with passionate love to following Jesus and caring for the weak and the poor, Pope Francis said in his homily.
The new saints are: Paul VI, who led the last sessions of Vatican II and its initial implementation; Romero, who defended the poor, called for justice and was assassinated in 1980; Vincenzo Romano, an Italian priest who died in 1831; Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa, a Spanish nun who ministered in Mexico and Bolivia and died in 1943; Catherine Kasper, the 19th-century German founder of a religious order; Francesco Spinelli, a 19th-century priest and founder of a religious order; and Nunzio Sulprizio, a layman who died in Naples in 1836 at the age of 19.
“All these saints, in different contexts,” put the Gospel “into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all behind,” Pope Francis said in his homily.
The Pope, who has spoken often about being personally inspired by both St Paul VI and St Oscar Romero, prayed that every Christian would follow the new saints’ examples by shunning an attachment to money, wealth and power, and instead following Jesus and sharing his love with others.
And he prayed the new saints would inspire the whole Church to set aside “structures that are no longer adequate for proclaiming the Gospel, those weights that slow down our mission, the strings that tie us to the world.”