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ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II
 TO THE PILGRIMS WHO CAME TO ROME FOR THE
CANONIZATION OF THE FIVE NEW SAINTS

Monday 20 May 2002

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. The light and joy of Pentecost, that yesterday accompanied the solemn proclamation of five new saints, is extended and deepened at our festive gathering as we stop to reflect on the Spirit's action in their lives in order to learn how in turn to be available to the Lord's grace.

Holiness is truly a fruit of the Holy Spirit who acting in man changes him into a new creation and communicates to him the very life of God. I renew my cordial welcome to you!

2. I first greet the pilgrims from Piedmont who with the beloved Capuchins, rejoice for the canonization of Ignatius of Santhiá. Love of Christ, the desire for perfection and the will to serve his brothers and sisters, impelled this fellow countryman of yours to leave an ecclesial ministry that began well to embrace the poverty and austerity of the Capuchin Order.

The chronicles remember him as always caring and available in welcoming the great number of people who flocked to him. He listened to their problems and difficulties and made himself their daily minister of God's pardon, to the point that they called him:  "father of sinners and of the desperate".

3. Next, I am happy to greet you, religious of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, and the group of faithful who have come here, representing the noble land of Calabria. You are celebrating the canonization of Fra Umile of Bisignano. The action of the Holy Spirit action gradually revealed to Fra Umile the fascination of the choice of evangelical life in accord with the style of Francis of Assisi, in a process of unceasing purification and ascetical life, configuring him ever more closely to the chaste, poor and obedient Christ.

Humble in name and in deed, he offered himself to all believers as a model of heroic fidelity to divine Love, lived in the humility of a hidden life and abandonment to God's holy will.

4. I now warmly greet the Spanish pilgrims who have come for the solemn canonization of Alphonsus of Orozco, an Augustinian friar but with a universal appeal. The rich qualities that distinguish him incite us to point him out as a man of letters and piety, of service and charity, of culture and of self-denial.

Among all the words of praise he has received I would like to highlight this phrase:  "the living image of the Gospel", for this is the goal to which Christians are called:  to imitate Christ, each one following him in his own vocation. St Alphonsus of Orozco did so as an Augustinian religious. May the life and teachings of this new saint be a help and an incentive for everyone to follow Jesus Christ.

5. I affectionately greet the Brazilian pilgrims who came to Rome to take part in the solemn ceremony of the canonization of St Pauline of the Suffering Heart of Jesus, Foundress of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. Her Christian witness, which led her to accomplish heroic gestures of sacrifice and self-denial for the good of souls, especially the poor and the sick, was like a tiny seed planted by the divine Sower, which today, having grown into a leafy tree, has spread throughout the generous land of Brazil.

This is an image of the charism Mother Pauline left her Congregation, consisting of the willingness to serve in the Church the neediest and those in situations of greater injustice with simplicity, humility and interior life. From it was born her example of faith, in seeking and accepting God's will always and in all things; and of charity, the dominant thread that linked together all the stages of Mother Pauline's life with the total gift of self to her brethren, especially those in greatest need.

6. I now greet the pilgrims who have come to Rome, especially from Liguria for the canonization of Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello, especially the Benedictine Sisters of Providence whom she founded. All her life, the new saint strove to carry out God's will faithfully, looking always to the crucified Christ, our example of perfect obedience to the heavenly Father.

At the demanding school of the Cross, in her experience as a married woman and in religious life, Benedetta witnessed to "God's loving Providence" who provides for his children's needs. I hope, dear Benedictine Sisters of Providence and everyone who, like you, is inspired by the spirituality and example of the new Saint, that you will continue to walk generously on the path she drew up. You will thus be witnesses to the young generations of the beauty of a life totally given to the Lord and to the brethren.

7. Dear brothers and sisters, together with the whole Church, let us thank the Lord for these five new Saints. They are our friends and protectors, intercessors and models of life. Let us call on them in prayer, deepen our knowledge of them, and imitate the virtues that made them teachers of humanity and of the ascetical life of the Gospel.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom during the month of May we pray with more intense love and devotion, help and protect you always. May my blessing go with you, which I affectionately impart to each of you present here and willingly extend to all your loved ones.

    

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