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Pope canonizes 7 new saints, including 2 from North America

Catholic World News - October 22, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI presided at the canonization of 7 new saints—including St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Marianne Cope—at a Mass celebrated for a congregation of 80,000 people in St. Peter’s Square on October 21.

Along with St. Kateri, the first Native American saint; and St. Marianne, who worked with lepers at Molokai, the Pope also canonized:

  1. St. Jacques Berthiue (1838-1896), a French Jesuit martyr;
  2. St. Pedro Calungsod (1654-1672), a Filipino lay catechist and martyr;
  3. St. Giovanni Battista Piamarta (1841-1913), an Italian priest;
  4. St. Maria del Carmen (1848-1911), born Maria Salles y Baranguera, a Spanish religious; and
  5. St. Anna Schaeffer (1882-1925), a German laywoman.

In his homily the Pope pointed out that by “happy coincidence” the canonizations took place on World Mission Sunday, as the Church reflects on “how to be evangelizers, called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message.” The 7 new saints answered that challenge in their own different ways, the Pontiff observed. “They are sons and daughters of the Church who chose a life of service following the Lord.”

"These new saints, different in origin, language, nationality and social condition, are united among themselves and with the whole People of God in the mystery of salvation of Christ the Redeemer,” the Pope said. He urged all of the faithful to imitate their example, “configuring ourselves to Christ.” The witness of these newly canonized saints, the Pope continued, is “an eloquent confirmation of the mysterious saving reality” that springs from the Church. Noting how frequently participants in the Synod of Bishops have mentioned the need for personal holiness as a prerequisite for effective evangelization, the Holy Father said that this observation is “true both for the mission ad gentes and for the new evangelization in places with ancient Christian roots.”

The unprecedented canonization of two North American saints in a single day drew thousands of Americans to Rome for the October 21 ceremonies. “This is a great weekend for America in the Vatican,” observed Greg Burke, the Vatican’s communications adviser.

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