Vatican City, May 22, 2023 / 11:15 am
The Catholic Church is one step closer to canonizing a surfing saint. Pope Francis recognized the heroic virtue of Brazil’s “Surfer Angel” Guido Schäffer in a decree issued by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Saturday.
Schäffer was a seminarian, a doctor, and a surfer who drowned while surfing in 2009 off the coast of Rio de Janeiro at the age of 34 before he could fulfill his desire of being ordained to the priesthood.
The Brazilian seminarian, known locally as the “Anjo Surfista” or “Surfer Angel,” used to begin each of his surfing lessons with a prayer and was known for his work with the poor, providing medical care to Rio’s “favelas” (poor, working-class neighborhoods) alongside the Missionaries of Charity.
With the decree, Pope Francis declared Schäffer “venerable.” The Church will now need to approve a miracle attributed to his intercession before he can be beatified.