St. Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, "Enamored of the Eucharist"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2004 ( As he canonized Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, John Paul II pointed to the Lebanese monk as a man «enamored of the Eucharist» and a witness of God’s mercy.

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The priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order (1808-1858) is loved and remembered by Muslims and Druses as well as Christians.

During his homily at the canonization Mass today in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope referred to the monk as a «man of prayer, enamored of the Eucharist, which he adored for long periods.»

«He gave himself totally to the Lord in a life of great self-denial, showing that the love of God is the only source of joy and happiness for man,» the Holy Father said. «He was determined to seek and follow Christ, his teacher and Lord.»

«Welcoming his brothers, he soothed and healed many wounds in the hearts of his contemporaries, witnessing to them the mercy of God,» John Paul II continued.

Nimatullah Al-Hardini founded a school in Kifkan and later in Bhersaf to instruct youth for free.

With his people, he suffered through the civil wars of 1840 and 1845, which paved the way for the bloody events of 1860, when many monasteries and churches were destroyed and numerous Maronite Christians massacred.

As a theology professor in the major seminary, he had among his students Charbel Maklouf, who was also eventually canonized a saint.

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