Holy Father Proclaims Five New Saints, Including First Brazilian

Is Grateful for Prayers Offered for His Birthday

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).-On Pentecost Sunday, John Paul II proclaimed five new saints, including the first Brazilian saint, Paulina of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus (1865-1942).

The other new saints are Spanish Augustinian Alonso de Orozco (1500-1591), as well as three Italians Umile da Bisignani (1582-1637), Ignazio da Santhia (1686-1770), and Benedetta Cambiaggio Frassinello (1791-1858).

According to the Holy Father, the new saints «walked through the roads of the world proclaiming and witnessing to Christ with the word and with life. For this reason, they have become an eloquent sign of the Church´s perennial Pentecost.»

At the end of the celebration, which lasted two and one half hours in St. Peter´s Square, under intermittent rain, Benin´s Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, Dean of the College of Cardinals, congratulated John Paul for his birthday; he turned 82 yesterday.

The Pope, whose voice was weak and tired from the bitter weather and turbulent wind, replied: «The special prayers for my person and for the fulfillment of the Petrine ministry that the Lord has entrusted to me, have been particularly comforting.»

John Paul II dedicated his homily — in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese — to highlighting the example of the life offered to the world by the new saints.

First Brazilian Saint

Speaking of St. Paulina of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, Italian religious who founded the religious community of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Brazil, the Pope emphasized her total dedication to the needy and the poorest.

«In the service of the poor and of those who suffer, she became a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, ´counselor, sweet guest of the soul,´» the Holy Father said, speaking in «Brazilian» Portuguese to thousands of pilgrims, also attended by the country´s president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Confessor of the King and Apostle of Prisons

When referring to Augustinian Fr. Alonso de Orozco, the Holy Father explained that «his pastoral dedication to the service of the poorest in hospitals and prisons makes him a model for those who, impelled by the Spirit, base all their existence on the love of God and neighbor.»

Moreover, Fr. Alonso Orozco was preacher to Philip II, King of Spain, from 1556-1598, and author of books that have become classics of spirituality.

Three New Italian Saints

When evoking the example of Franciscan friar Umile da Bisignani, born in the southern Italian region of Calabria, the Pope explained that «in our society, in which too often God´s traces seem to be lost, Friar Umile represents a joyful and encouraging invitation to meekness, kindness, simplicity, and a healthy detachment from the ephemeral goods of the world.»

Ignazio da Santhai, another of the new saints, was also a disciple of St. Francis of Assisi. A Capuchin friar, he was known at the time for being an extraordinary confessor. «He continues to remind everyone today of the values of poverty, simplicity, and authenticity of life,» the Pope explained.

Lastly, John Paul II spoke about Benedetta Cambiaggio Frassinello, foundress of the Benedictine of Providence, and highlighted her life´s motto: «to do everything for the love of God and to please Him.»

At the moment of the solemn proclamation of the new saints, their five giant-size portraits were displayed on the facade of St. Peter´s Basilica. Brazilian and Spanish flags were unfurled and pilgrims waved thousands of handkerchiefs in defiance of the bad weather.

Counting today´s canonizations, John Paul II has raised a total of 461 saints to the altar during his nearly 24 years of pontificate. To these, must be added 1,288 Beatifications. Thus, he has proclaimed more than half the Blessed and Saints recognized in the history of the Catholic Church.

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