Bishop Juan de Palafox was beatified in a solemn ceremony in Spain. Cardinal Angelo Amato, presided at the Mass on June 5.
Palafox (1600-1659) was “a bishop and pastor of souls, a mystic, a writer and patron, a royal minister and advisor, a great teacher, but above all he was a saint, whose pastoral zeal consisted essentially in stamping out evil and sowing what is good and holy,” Cardinal Amato, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said during the celebration.
The ceremony was held at the Cathedral of the Assumption in El Burgo de Osma.
Some 3,500 people attended the beatification. Bishop Gerardo Melgar of Osma-Soria, Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City, Archbishop Victor Sanchez of Puebla, as well as five other cardinals, 40 bishops and archbishops and 160 priests concelebrated the Mass, according to the Ical news agency.
Numerous civil officials were in attendance as well, including the presidents of the Spanish regions of Castilla y Leon and Navarra, as well as the mayor of the Mexican city of Puebla.
In June of 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed a 15-member commission composed of priests, lay people, scholars and devotees to make known the life and works of Palafox.
Father Ruben Tejedor, a priest of the Diocese of Osma-Soria and a member of the commission, told CNA, “The beatification of Palafox is a huge grace that was long awaited! It demonstrates the perennial beauty of holiness and the infallible triumph of the truth.”
Juan de Palafox’s cause for beatification was opened in 1666, just seven years after his death. He was born into a noble family in 1600. As a young man he was called by Philip III and Philip IV for important government roles both in Spain and in the New World. During those years, Palafox led a life he would later describe as marked by “every sort of vice, amusement and unleashing of passions.”
The deaths of his sister and of others close to him led to his radical conversion. He was then ordained to the priesthood in 1629.
In 1630 he was named Bishop of Puebla de los Angeles in Mexico and Vice Roy of New Spain. After arduous work in Mexico for numerous years, he returned to Spain, where he died on October 1, 1659.
“The bed on which I die, I give to the hospital so that whatever it can bring be used for the poor. I want to die in the bodily poverty in which I was accustomed to living, and if not, on the floor, in acknowledgment of the humility with which such a miserable creature should reach his demise and in imitation of my Lord Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me,” Bishop Palafox wrote in his testament.