Friday, May 15th
Good morning, Good morning,
This Sunday, May 17th, the Knights of Columbus will be collecting food for the Catholic Charities pantry in Leesburg. They will also be taking a collection for the needs of the parish. I will stand with the Knights from 2–4pm and beg your kindness for the Food Pantry and Parish Needs. God bless you one and all. Let us pray for one another.
The feast day for today is for St. Isidore of Spain. I will leave details of his life and devotions below. His attention to the needs of the poor is a compliment to the great saint of New York, St. Pierre Toussaint.
St. Pierre is one of the most traveled candidates for sainthood. He attended Mass at St. Peter’s, in New York, for sixty-six years. He was buried at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral cemetery. And now, he is buried under the main altar of the New St. Patrick’s Cathedral, on 5th Avenue. He was the first layman to be buried under the altar at St. Patrick’s.
“Toussaint, born in Haiti in 1766, was brought as a slave to New York in 1787. Pierre was placed in charge of the family needs when his master died of pleurisy while on a trip back to Haiti, reviewing his plantation. He became a successful hairdresser, at the same time quietly waiting on and supporting the needs of his family. After the death of his owner’s wife, the former slave purchased his wife’s freedom and became a leader of the free black community in New York.
Pierre Toussaint devoted his life to aiding the poor and the sick—opening his home to black orphans, raising funds to support a Catholic orphanage and school, and entering quarantined zones to nurse victims of epidemics that ravaged the city.
Toussaint worshiped at St. Peter’s Church for sixty-six years and was buried in the cemetery of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in 1853. In 1989, his remains were removed and brought to St. Patrick’s Cathedral uptown as the first step in the cause for his beatification.”
Enclosed is the Canonization thus far for Pierre Toussaint.
- In the 1950s, the John Boyle O’Reilly Committee for Interracial Justice, an Irish-American group devoted to social justice for blacks, began researching and publicizing Toussaint’s life story.
- Because of Toussaint’s reputation of great charity, Cardinal Terence Cooke, then Archbishop of New York, authorized the formation of a canonization committee to study further. Based on their findings, in 1991 his successor, Cardinal John O’Connor, strongly supported Toussaint for sainthood and began the official process, according him the title of Servant of God. O’Connor sent the needed documentation to the Vatican for this process. As part of it, the cardinal had Toussaint’s body exhumed and examined. He was reinterred in the main cathedral.
- Toussaint was the first layman to be honored by burial in the crypt below the main altar of St Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. The crypt is normally reserved for bishops of the Archdiocese of New York.
- In 1996 Toussaint was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II, the second step toward sainthood.
And now, the rest of the story. What are the steps for anyone to be recognized as a Catholic saint?
Stages on the road to sainthood
Usually, the process of recognizing a saint starts no earlier than five years after a person’s death. Usually, the potential saint’s pastor presents the case to the bishop. Specific stages are met on the path to being declared a saint:
- Servant of God: As soon as the person is accepted for consideration, the individual is called a Servant of God.
- Venerable: After the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints determines that the servant of God lived a life of heroic virtue, she is granted the title of Heroic virtue doesn’t mean a person was perfect or sinless, but that she worked aggressively to improve herself spiritually and never gave up trying to be better and grow in holiness.
- Blessed: After the Church establishes one miracle, the venerable person’s cause is presented to the pope to see whether he deems her worthy of being called This step is called beatification and is the next-to-last step.
- *Saint: Another miracle and the blessed person’s cause is presented to the pope again for his judgment. If he determines that the evidence is clear and that contrary reports aren’t credible, he may initiate the canonization procedure. If all goes well, the candidate is publicly recognized as a saint.
Only people whose existence can be verified and whose lives can be examined are possible candidates for canonization. Candidates for sainthood undergo an investigation:
- Informative inquiries are made into the person’s life, reputation, and activities while they lived on earth
- Proof that no one has proclaimed or is already proclaiming and honoring the person as a saint before it’s been officially declared
- A thorough examination of the person’s written and spoken (transcripts) works
If the thorough background check leads the investigators to declare the candidate venerable, evidence of miracles attributed to the candidate’s intercession with God is sought. Miracles need to be documented and authenticated, so eyewitnesses alone are considered insufficient. Medical, scientific, psychiatric, and theological experts are consulted, and evidence is given to them for their professional opinion. If a scientific, medical, or psychological explanation exists for what had only appeared to be a miracle, then it isn’t an authentic miracle. Only immediate, spontaneous, and inexplicable phenomena are up for consideration as authentic miracles.
A group of Italian doctors (Consulta Medica) examine the healing miracles. Some of the doctors aren’t Catholic and some are, but all are qualified and renowned physicians. They don’t declare a healing a miracle, but instead say, “We can find no scientific or medical explanation for the cure.”
Besides miraculous healings, the commission examines other phenomena:
- Incorruptibility: Long after the saint is dead, the body is found free of decay when exhumed from the grave. The Church considers St. Catherine of Siena to be an example. She died in 1380, and 600 years later without any embalming, her flesh hasn’t decomposed.
- *Liquefaction: The dried blood of the saint, long dead, miraculously liquefies on the feast day. The Church considers St. Januarius (San Gennaroin Italian; A.D. 275?–305), the patron saint of Naples, to be an example. According to the Church, a vial of his dried blood liquefies every year on September 19.
- Odor of sanctity: The body of the saint exudes a sweet aroma, like roses, rather than the usual pungent stench of decay. The Church considers St. Teresa of Avila (1515–82) to be just such an example. The Church believes her grave exuded a sweet fragrance for nine months after her death.The pope alone decides who is publicly recognized as a saint in churches all over the world and gets a feast day.
The actual act of beatification, in which a person is declared blessed, or of canonization, which is officially recognizing a saint, usually takes place in St. Peter’s Square outside the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Sometimes, though, the pope beatifies and canonizes in the country where the person lived and died
St. Isidore the Farmer
St. Isidore was born at Madrid, Spain, in the latter half of the 12th century. For the greater part of his life he was employed as a laborer on a farm outside the city. Many marvelous happenings accompanied his lifelong work in the fields and continued long after his holy death. He was favored with celestial visions and, it is said, the angels sometimes helped him in his work in the fields. St. Isidore was canonized in 1622.
In 1947, he was proclaimed the patron of the National Rural Conference in the United States. He is the patron of farmers (for those outstanding in their fields… uhmm, that was a joke), and his feast day is May 15th.
Prayer: God, through the intercession of St. Isidore, the holy Farmer, grant that we may overcome all feelings of pride. May we always serve you with that humility which pleases you, through his merits and example.