Four New Saints

Malta’s first saint canonized, identity of miracle boy revealed


Pope Benedict XVI canonized Malta’s first saint on Sunday. St. George Preca founded the Society for Christian Doctrine, popularly known as “Museum”. This is the acronym for the Latin phrase Fr. George would use to educate Malta in its love for God and neighbor — Magister Utinam Sequator Evangelium Universus Mundus (Divine Teacher, May the Whole World Follow Your Gospel).

Among the 5,000 Maltese who attended, including the Mediterranean country’s president and prime minister, was the five-year-old boy whose miraculous healing from severe liver problems was attributed to the intercession of Fr. George.

The healing of Eric Catania was the definitive second miracle required to canonize the Maltese priest. The boy’s identity had been kept secret according to the wishes of the family but was revealed recently by a British tabloid.

In 2001, the newborn Eric had developed severe liver problems and was sent to a local hospital. The baby’s condition worsened and he was sent to King’s College Hospital in London.

His only hope of survival was a liver transplant. A few days before the surgery, however, doctors learned that the available organ would be rejected by the child’s body.

Hopeless, the child’s parents prayed for the miraculous intercession of Blessed George Preca. They even placed a glove on the child that was used for Fr. George’s exhumation.

Four days later, on July 24, 2001, doctors discovered that surgery was no longer required because Eric’s liver had miraculously started to function normally.

Eric was in Rome with his parents and 40 other family members for the canonization. He also received his First Communion yesterday from the Pope.

The Canonization Mass had strong Maltese input. Six excerpts from Fr. George’s writings were read at the beginning of the ceremony, 10 Maltese priests concelebrated with the Pope, and 50 Maltese priests distributed Holy Communion.