ROME ( Associated Press) — Recovered from knee pain that has forced him to use a wheelchair, Pope Francis named 10 new saints Sunday and presided over the first canonization ceremony at the Vatican in about two years.
Francis stood for a long time at the start of the ceremony to greet the priests co-celebrating the Mass, and limped to the altar to proclaim six men and four women saints. They included a Dutch priest and journalist murdered by the Nazis, an Indian lay convert who was murdered for his faith, and half a dozen French and Italian priests and nuns who founded religious orders.
Before some 45,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said the ten had shown holiness in daily life and said the Church must embrace that idea, rather than the unattainable ideal of personal achievement.
“Holiness does not consist in a few heroic gestures, but in many small acts of daily love,” the pontiff said from his chair at the altar.
Francisco has suffered in recent months from strained ligaments in his right knee, and has recently been seen in a wheelchair at public hearings. Sunday’s ceremony showed Francis can still walk, though he appears to be keeping efforts to a minimum to give ligaments time to heal before a busy travel schedule that begins in July. The Vatican has confirmed two visits that month, one to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan and another to Canada.
It was the first canonization mass at the Vatican since before the coronavirus pandemic, and save for Easter celebrations last week, it drew the largest crowd in recent memory in St. Peter’s Square.
The President of Italy, the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, the Minister of the Interior of France and the Minister for Minorities of India, along with tens of thousands of worshipers, flocked to the sun-drenched square, adorned with Dutch flowers in honor of Reverend Titus Brandsma , a holy martyr who died in the Dachau concentration camp in 1942.
During the canonization process, a group of Dutch and German journalists officially proposed that Brandsma become the patron saint of journalists along with Saint Francis de Sales, given his work to combat propaganda and false news during the rise of fascism and Nazism. in Europe. According to an open letter sent this month to Francis, journalists noted that Brandsma successfully fought to ban Nazi propaganda from being printed in Catholic newspapers. The pope did not initially respond to the request.
In addition to Brandsma, the new saints include the 18th-century Indian convert Lazarus, also known as Devashayam, who mixed with India’s lower castes and was considered a traitor by the Indian royal palace, which ordered his arrest and execution in 1752.
“He is for the poor,” said Arachi Syril, an Indian pilgrim from Kanyakumari who came to the plaza for mass. “He hated the caste system, it still exists, but he is a martyr for it,” he said.
Also canonized were César de Bus, a French priest who founded the Fathers of Christian Doctrine order and died in 1607; Luigi Maria Palazzolo, an Italian priest who cared for orphans and died in 1886; Giustino Maria Russolillo, an Italian priest who founded a religious order dedicated to promoting religious vocations and died in 1955 and Charles de Foucauld, a French missionary who founded a religious order dedicated to promoting religious vocations and died in 1955. Other new saints It was Charles de Foucauld, a French missionary who, after rediscovering his faith in his youth, decided to live among the Tuareg in the Sahara desert and was assassinated in 1916.
The four nuns are Marie Rivier, who overcame a childhood illness in France to become a nun and found a religious order, who died in 1838; Maria Francesca di Gesù Rubatto, an Italian nun who helped found an order and died in 1904 in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the Italians Maria di Gesù Santocanale and Domenica Mantovani, founders of religious orders and who died in 1923 and 1934, respectively.