American youth play role in canonization of Mother Guerin

.- As of next week, Blessed Theodore Guerin High School in Noblesville, Indiana, will officially change its name to Saint Theodore Guerin High School.  While many are preparing to celebrate the newest American Saint, two students from the Indiana high school are preparing to play a unique role in the canonization - that of serving for Pope Benedict XVI as he proclaims Mother Guerin a Saint on Sunday, the Indianapolis Star reports.

The new school, which only opened in 2004, was named after the French-born nun, who came to Indiana in 1840 and started the state's first Catholic schools. She founded what is now known as St. Mary-of-the-Woods College near Terre Haute.

Bishop William Higi of Lafayette said he chose Mother Guerin as the school's namesake in part to spread her story and her significant role in the establishment of a Catholic community in the state.

The school does its part in making the holy woman more known to its students as well. In its first three years of existence it has already made a tradition of taking each freshman class to St. Mary-of-the-Woods so they can walk the grounds and hear the Sisters of Providence speak about their foundress.

The school, with a population of 300, has taken a keen interest in the canonization. Principal Keith Marsh noted that Catholic schools are frequently named for saints, but few actually get to see their namesake canonized. As a result, it sent 44 people, including 18 students, to Rome. Students had to raise their own funds for the trip. They left Wednesday.

Two of these students will play an active part in the canonization mass with Pope Benedict. Michael Puza, 16, and Miguel Salazar, 15, signed up months ago for the trip to Rome, but when word came that there were two spots available for local boys who were willing to be altar servers, Puza and Salazar fit the bill.

Puza, who told the Star that it still hasn’t sunk in that he’ll be serving at the canonization, doesn’t think he would have attended the new high school if it weren’t for Mother Guerin.  As he prepared to enter the 9th grade, two other schools were at the top of his list.  But something suddenly made him change his mind and decide on Guerin.

"I almost feel like she interceded for me to come here," Puza said.

The sixteen year old Puza, lauded the soon-to-be canonized Saint’s example.  "She never looked back and she never contemplated how bad it was. She kept going no matter how bad the conditions were," Puza said.

Mother Guerin will be canonized along with Rafael Guizar Valencia, Filippo Smaldone and Rosa Venerini. The nearly three-hour canonization ceremony will be aired live on EWTN at 4 a.m. ET, and rebroadcast at noon. 

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