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Fr. Lombardi: new saints are ‘spiritual friends’ and guides to religious virtue

.- The saints are “fascinating guides” to faith, hope and love who show that ordinary people bring God's comfort and light to the world, commented Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.

On Oct. 17, Pope Benedict XVI canonized the Church's six newest saints in St. Peter Square. Fr. Lombardi commented on this event during his "Octava Dies" (Eighth Day) weekly television editorial this week.

This year's canonizations were particularly special, he explained, because of the origins of two of the saints in the group, Sts. Mary MacKillop and Andre Bessette. They hail from two nations with few canonized saints, Australia and Canada.

Canadian and Australian pilgrims flew their flags throughout the square before and after the ceremony. They were joined in the celebration by many others from Spain, Italy and Poland, the homelands of the four other new saints.

In a canonization, said Fr. Lombardi, the Church solemnly proposes the Christian life of a person, recognizing something that is "already understood" among the people. This understanding, he explained, is that "certain people," the saints, "embody the Gospel in an extraordinary and exemplary way." Thus, they become "spiritual friends for whoever encounters them and fascinating guides to discovering the love of God, faith and hope," he said.

"Canonizations are recognition that the Spirit of God breathes through ordinary people, like Mary and Br. Andre, and [they] produce fruits of virtue that are sources of comfort and light for many others," he continued.

The declaration sainthood is a "true celebration," he said, explaining that through this solemn recognition saints spread their faith, hope and love, even if they are not all universally popular.
"This," noted Fr. Lombardi, "is the most beautiful aspect of the Church."
 
In service to mankind, he said, the Church helps people from all places to "walk to meet God along the paths of holiness." Turning to all people, he concluded, "we need to learn to see the Church in this perspective and continuously renew her, beginning with ourselves."

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