Seven new saints canonised on weekend

Pope Francis canonised seven new saints on Sunday in front of 70,000 people.

The new saints are: Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Caterina Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus and Nunzio Sulprizio.

St Paul VI was like St Paul, who “spent his life for Christ’s Gospel,” Francis said.

He crossed new boundaries and became a “witness in proclamation and in dialogue, a prophet of a Church turned outwards, looking to those far away and taking care of the poor.

“Even in the midst of tiredness and misunderstanding, Paul bore witness in a passionate way to the beauty and the joy of following Christ totally.

“Today he still urges us, together with the Council whose wise helmsman he was, to live our common vocation: the universal call to holiness. Not to half measures, but to holiness,” Francis said.

Paul was pope from 1963-1978. He presided over the church reforms of the 1960s and was the pope of Francis’ formative years as a young priest in Argentina.

Among the crowd at the canonisation mass in Rome were 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims who traveled to witness Oscar Romero’s canonisation.

St Oscar Romero is San Salvador’s first saint.

Besides those present at the mass, “tens of thousands” of others watched it on giant TV screens outside the San Salvador cathedral where St Oscar Romero’s remains are entombed.

St Oscar Romero was murdered while celebrating Mass in 1980. Francis declared him a martyr on 3 February 2015 and he was beatified on 23 May that same year.

Francis said he spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture and fearlessly denounced denounced the military oppression at the start of El Salvador’s 1980-1992 civil war.

He also helped establish the Latin American church’s “preferential option for the poor” that Francis has adopted.

Francis showed his personal connection with Paul and Romero at the canonisation Mass by wearing the blood-stained rope belt Romero was wearing when he was killed and using Paul’s staff, chalice and pallium vestment.

Francis said like Paul and Romero, Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Caterina Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus and “our young boy” from Naples, Nunzio Sulprizio, all gave their lives according to the Gospel … with heart[s] drawn to Jesus, and his brothers and sisters.

“All these saints, in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all.”

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News category: World.

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