During yesterday’s Mass concluding the ‘Year of the Eucharist’ and the General Synod of Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI canonized 5 new saints--the first of his pontificate.
Some observers say that yesterday’s group could be a sign that Benedict plans to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, John Paul II, who canonized more saints than any other Pope in history.
The Pope said a few words about each of the newly canonized, referring first to St. Jozef Bilczewski (1860 - 1923), who he called "a man of prayer," whose "profound theological knowledge, faith and Eucharistic devotion ... made him an example for priests and a witness for all the faithful."
The Pope then turned to the Polish St. Zygmunt Gorazdowski (1845 - 1920), a priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. He "became famous for his devotion rooted in the celebration and adoration of the Eucharist. His experience of Christ's sacrifice drove him to the sick, the poor and the needy."
Chilean Jesuit priest, St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901 - 1952), the Pope said, "wished to identify himself with the Lord and to love the poor with the Lord's own love. ... In love and in total commitment to God's will, he found the strength for his apostolate.
“He founded”, Benedict recalled, “the 'Hogar de Cristo' (Home of Christ) for the most needy and the homeless, offering them a family atmosphere full of human warmth. In his priestly ministry he stood out for his simplicity and his readiness to help others."
Next, the Pope spoke about Italian priest, St. Gaetano Catanoso (1879 - 1963). He was founder of the Congregation of the Veronica Sisters of the Holy Countenance, and stressed, the Holy Father said, "daily Mass and frequent adoration of the Sacrament of the altar were the soul of his priestly ministry.”
“With ardent and tireless pastoral charity he dedicated himself to preaching, catechesis, the ministry of Confession, the poor, the sick, and to nurturing priestly vocations."
Lastly, Pope Benedict spoke of St. Felice da Nicosia (1715 - 1787), a member of the Friars Minor Capuchin, who was "austere and penitent, faithful to the most genuine expressions of the Franciscan tradition.”
“[He] helps us”, Benedict said, “to discover the value of small things that give life a precious value, teaching us to perceive the meaning of the family and of service to our brothers and sisters, and showing us that the true and lasting joy, for which all human hearts long, is the fruit of love."