Although the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect many people around the world, the beginning of a new calendar year is also a good time to look forward to joyful events to come.
In Rome, the Vatican is planning three important international occasions with Christian hope.
Though crowd sizes may have to be controlled, modern technology and the ability to connect remotely or through live streaming mean that participation can be unlimited.
As the new year kicks off, here are three Rome events that Catholics can look forward to in 2022.
The canonization of Charles de Foucauld
The canonization of Bl. Charles de Foucauld and six other blesseds on May 15 will end a stretch of two years and seven months since the most recent canonizations, those of St. John Henry Newman and four others in October 2019.
A canonization — when the pope recognizes that a holy man or woman is in heaven — is always a blessed occasion for the Church, and many Catholics are likely to rejoice as the French soldier and adventurer, who later became a Trappist monk and Catholic missionary to Muslims in Algeria, is declared a saint.
After his reversion to the Catholic faith, Foucauld wanted to imitate the life of Jesus. He spent his last 13 years living among the Muslim Tuareg people, a nomadic ethnic group, in the desert of French-occupied Algeria. Also known as Brother Charles of Jesus, Foucauld was killed in 1916 at the age of 58.
On May 15, Pope Francis will also canonize Devasahayam Pillai, a layman from India who was martyred after converting from Hinduism to Catholicism in the 18th century.
Pillai, who is also known by his baptismal name, Lazarus, was beatified in 2012 in southern India. He will be the first lay Catholic from India to be declared a saint.
Seven years after his conversion, Pillai was killed at the age of 40 by gunshot, after he had been falsely accused of treason, arrested, and tortured for three years.
Two religious sisters will also be canonized on May 15: Bl. Maria Francesca di Gesù, the foundress of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of Loano, and Bl. Maria Domenica Mantovani, the co-foundress and first general superior of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.
Bl. César de Bus, Bl. Luigi Maria Palazzolo, and Bl. Giustino Maria Russolillo — three priests who founded religious congregations and institutes — will also be declared saints.
10th World Meeting of Families
Though the continued spread of COVID-19 means physical attendance in Rome will be limited, the 10th World Meeting of Families, on June 22-26, will offer ways for any Catholic family to participate.
Organizers have planned hybrid in-person and online meetings, and bishops have been encouraged to hold parallel events in their dioceses.
This will be Rome’s third time hosting the international gathering, which started in 1994. Around 2,000 people will attend the 2022 edition, which is on the theme of “Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness.”
Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the vicar of Rome, said: “Choosing the city that holds the memories of the Apostles Peter and Paul as the main venue for the meeting highlights the original vocation of the Church of Rome which ‘presides over the communion of the Churches.’”
Venerable John Paul I will be beatified on Sept. 4 by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.
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Often called “the smiling pope,” John Paul I died unexpectedly on Sept. 28, 1978, after just 33 days in office. A priority of his short pontificate was carrying forward the work of the Second Vatican Council.
But even before he was elected pope, Albino Luciani was known for his humility, emphasis on spiritual poverty, and dedication to teaching the faith in an understandable manner.
In October, Pope Francis recognized a miracle obtained through John Paul I’s intercession and gave approval for him to be declared “blessed.”
Though beatification ceremonies usually take place in the country most associated with the life of the new blessed, John Paul I will be beatified at the Vatican because he served as a pope.
The miracle attributed to John Paul I’s intercession is the 2011 healing of a girl in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from a severe form of encephalopathy, a disease affecting the brain.