Saints’ lives prove God’s love for all, pope says at canonization Mass

May 16, 2022
People hold a banner honoring new St. Charles de Foucauld, a French priest and hermit who was born in 1858 and killed in 1916, before Pope Francis' celebration of Mass for the canonization of 10 new saints in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 15, 2022. Five of the new saints are from Italy, three from France, one from India and one from the Netherlands. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The lives of the saints prove that holiness is not an unreachable goal accomplished by a select few but comes from acknowledging and sharing God's love, Pope Francis said.

"Our Christian lives begin not with doctrine and good works, but with the amazement born of realizing that we are loved, prior to any response on our part," the pope said in his homily during the canonization Mass in which he declared 10 men and women as saints of the Catholic Church.

"At times, by over emphasizing our efforts to do good works, we have created an ideal of holiness excessively based on ourselves, our personal heroics, our capacity for renunciation, our readiness for self-sacrifice in achieving a reward. In this way, we have turned holiness into an unattainable goal," he said.

An estimated 45,000 pilgrims from around the world gathered in St. Peter's Square at the beginning of the canonization Mass, and tens of thousands more arrived in time for the recitation of the "Regina Coeli" prayer afterward, the Vatican said.

Carmelite Father Michael Driscoll, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida, was among the pilgrims who arrived early for the canonization Mass, which he said he has "been waiting for for 18 years" since his miraculous healing from advanced, metastatic melanoma. He had prayed for St. Titus Brandsma's intercession, and his healing was accepted as the miracle needed for the Dutch Carmelite's canonization.

Father Driscoll told Catholic News Service May 13 he was "very anxious and thrilled" for the canonization of St. Brandsma, who died in 1942 at the Dachau concentration camp after he "used his talents as a teacher, as a publicist and as a writer" to fight against Nazi ideology.

"He fought with his mouth in the pulpit, he fought with his pen and typewriter way before the internet came along. He used all that was available at that time and rallied Holland," Father Driscoll told CNS.

"I think for the church, (especially with) all the troubles that are happening in Ukraine, that's where we should be adamantly against that same ideology, (which is) similar to Nazism," he added.

In his homily, the pope reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. John in which Jesus calls on his disciples to love one another "as I have loved you."

Christ's call, he said, should be "the core of our own faith," a faith that recognizes that "our abilities and our merits are not the central thing, but rather the unconditional, free and unmerited love of God."

"Being disciples of Jesus and advancing on the path of holiness means first and foremost letting ourselves be transfigured by the power of God's love. Let us never forget the primacy of God over self, of the Spirit over the flesh, of grace over works," the pope said.

Jesus' call to love one another, he continued, is not solely a call to imitate his love for humanity, but a reminder that Christians "are able to love only because he has loved us, because he pours into our hearts his own Spirit, the Spirit of holiness, love that heals and transforms."

To live one's life according to that love, the pope said Christians must be willing to serve others, which clears one's soul from "the poison of greed and competitiveness" and fights "the cancer of indifference and the woodworm of self-referentiality."

Giving one's life, he said, is "more than simply offering something of ours to others," but rather it is a way of "surmounting our selfishness in order to make our lives a gift."

Pope Francis said that the 10 new saints exemplified the Christian call "to serve the Gospel and our brothers and sisters, to offer our lives without expecting anything in return, or any worldly glory."

"They discovered an incomparable joy, and they became brilliant reflections of the Lord of history," the pope said. "May we strive to do the same, for each of us is called to holiness, to a form of holiness all our own."

The new saints are:

-- Devasahayam Pillai, an Indian layman born in 1712 and martyred in 1752.

-- César de Bus, the French founder of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine, who was born in 1544 and died in 1607.

-- Luigi Maria Palazzolo, Italian founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor, who lived 1827-1886.

-- Giustino Maria Russolillo, Italian founder of the Society of Divine Vocations for men and the Vocationist Sisters, 1891-1955.

-- Charles de Foucauld, French priest and hermit, born in 1858 and killed in 1916.

-- Anna Maria Rubatto, Italian founder of the order now known as the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto, who lived 1844-1904.

-- Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first superior general of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, born in 1862 and died in 1934.

-- Titus Brandsma, Dutch priest and journalist, who was born in 1881 and martyred in 1942.

-- Carolina Santocanale, Italian founder of the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes, who lived 1852-1923.

-- Marie Rivier, French founder of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. She was born in 1768 and died in 1838.

By Junno Arocho Esteves | Catholic News Service



Mike Reininger
Mon, 05/16/2022 - 11:56 AM
Mike Reininger
What is Franciscan Media going to do? There are only 365 days of the year. All of these new saints are coming out of our ears! But nevertheless, let's try and notice the saints in our own respective lives. Where are they? Are they far and in between? "Tell me who you associate with, and I'll tell you who you are," as my mom's granddad would say. I try and disassociate with people I think are no good since I need all the help I can get. What are bad people good for? That's right, "Nothing." It's been said that evil attracts evil. Some people are so stupid that they think they can change others! How about simply changing oneself? So how does one do that? Introspection? Being realistic? So, people don't change. How could they? Our personalities are set by the time we are around eight years old. That's who we will be for the rest of our lives. Get used to it. So, start by asking "Am I a good person or bad." Start there. Most of us are a mixture of both good and bad. Some people start out good and end up bad. But bad people almost never end up good. They were always bad. That's just who they are. Accept that. And the saints? They were always good. How could not have been? Weren't they sinners too, you may ask? Well, they may have gone briefly astray, but I think they were always good and somehow ended up back on track. I also think saints are closer to their "real" nature in this world than the rest of us. The rest of us won't know our "true nature" until after we are dead, from what I have heard from those near-death experience folks. Well, anyways, even if the rest of us don't become saints in our respective lifetimes, as long as we enter the kingdom of heaven, right? Right. Just get through life with honor. What more can a person ask?

Add new comment