.- A Spanish Capuchin friar who was known across the city of Granada, Spain for his simplicity was beatified on Sunday morning. The Holy Father invited the faithful to follow his example and to love all people, "without exception."
Brother Leopold de Alpandeire, born Francisco Sánchez Márquez, was beatified at an airfield near Granada with an estimated 60,000 people in attendance. Prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, Archbishop Angelo Amato, presided over the ceremony along with a number concelebrants including Cardinal Antonio María Cañizares and all the bishops of Andalusia, led by Archbishop of Granada, Javier Martínez.
The Capuchin friar, who lived from 1864-1956, was remembered in August by the general minister of the Capuchin Order of Friars Minor, Br. Mauro Jöhri. Br. Mauro wrote that the Blessed was "before all else a 'man of God,' steeped in His Spirit."
For 50 years, he recalled, Br. Leopold walked the streets of Granada "distributing the alms of love, lending color to the sad days of many, creating unity and harmony, leading all to meet God and lending dignity to everyday tasks."
In a pastoral letter written for the occasion, the Archbishop of Granada said that in the "simple" spirituality and life of the friar "the word of the Gospel is once again fulfilled, 'Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.'”
"This is fulfilled in the world, in effect" he said, "and it is fulfilled in Br. Leopold. The contrast between the programs of the world with the categories and criteria of Br. Leopold cannot be more radical.”
"But Br. Leopold is not a utopia," the prelate concluded, "he is a being in flesh and bone."
Uniting himself with the celebrations in Granada after Sunday's Angelus, Pope Benedict said that "the life of this simple and austere Capuchin religious is a song to humility and confidence in God and a luminous model of devotion to the Most Holy Virgin Mary."
He invited "all, following the example of the new Blessed, to serve the Lord with a sincere heart, so that we might experience the immense love that He has for us and which makes it possible to love all men without exception."