Supporters of the canonization cause of California priest Father Aloysius Ellacuria, C.M.F., have welcomed the help of prominent canon lawyer Dr. Andrea Ambrosi.

Fr. Kevin Manion, a representative of the group The Friends of Father Aloysius, said Dec. 6 that the support from Ambrosi "confirms we are on the right track."

Ambrosi, who is based in Rome, has worked on the canonization causes of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, Bl. John XXIII, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and U.S. military chaplain and Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun.

He will now take on the role of diocesan and Roman postulator for the canonization cause of Fr. Ellacuria, making the case for why the priest should be considered to have led a life of heroic virtue.

The 20th century priest, who was born in the Basque region of Spain in 1905, worked for many decades around Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Antonio. Many of those who knew the priest say God worked miracles of healing through him and gave him special charisms like prophecy, reading souls and expelling demons.

Fr. Ellacuria entered the Claretian Missionaries at the age of 11 and was ordained a priest at the age of 24. Soon after his ordination, he went to the United States and served as a Greek and Latin professor.

He served as a novice director and a superior for the Claretians. He founded the Missionaries of Perpetual Adoration in Fatima, Portugal to help spread the message of the Marian apparition at Fatima.

Fr. Ellacuria died on April 6, 1981 and is buried at the old San Gabriel Mission in San Gabriel, Calif. His life has been the subject of several books and the documentary movie "The Angel of Biscay."

The Claretians have decided to not pursue the priest's cause actively. The religious order is seeking to open causes for several hundred of its members, mainly martyrs from the Spanish Civil War, but also lacks resources.

Fr. Manion said supporters of Fr. Ellacuria's canonization still have "many details to work out," including funding.

More information about the priest's sainthood cause is available at the website