VATICAN CITY, OCT. 23, 2005 (<a>Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI closed the Year of the Eucharist and the Synod of Bishops and celebrated World Mission Sunday by canonizing the first five saints of his pontificate.
Some 252 synodal fathers concelebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Square this morning, with the participation of tens of thousands of visitors and pilgrims.
Displayed on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica were portraits of the newly canonized saints from Italy, Poland and Chile.
“The saint is he who is so fascinated by the beauty of God and by his perfect truth to be progressively transformed by it,” the Pope said in his homily, delivered in Italian, Polish, Ukrainian and Spanish.
“Because of this beauty and truth, he is ready to renounce everything, even himself,” the Holy Father said. “The love of God is enough, which he expresses in the humble and disinterested service to the neighbor, especially to those who cannot give back in return.”
Those canonized were:
— Gaetano Catanoso (1879-1963) of Italy, priest of the Archdiocese of Reggio Calabria-Bova, and founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Veronica, Missionaries of the Holy Face; and
— Felice de Nicosia (1715-1787) of Italy, a Capuchin religious.
— Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952) of Chile, a Jesuit;
— Jozef Bilczewski (1860-1923) of Poland, archbishop of Lviv of the Latins;
— Zygmunt Gorazdowski (1845-1920) of Poland, diocesan priest of the Lviv Archdiocese;
The Holy Father called Gaetano Catanoso the “apostle of the Holy Face of Christ.”
“Daily Mass and the frequent adoration of the Sacrament of the Altar were the soul of his priesthood,” Benedict XVI said. “With ardent and untiring pastoral charity he dedicated himself to preaching, to catechesis, to the ministry of confessions, to the poor, to the sick, to the care of priestly vocations.”
“Father Felice,” continued the Pontiff, “helps us to discover the value of the little things that make our lives more precious, and he teaches us to grasp the meaning of family and of service to the brothers, showing that true and lasting joy, which every human being’s heart desires, is the fruit of love.”
Benedict XVI recalled the words Felice de Nicosia would repeat during good times or bad times: “Be it for the love of God.”
Regarding Jozef Bilczeski, the Bishop of Rome said his “deep knowledge of theology, faith and Eucharistic devotion … made him an example for priests and a witness for all the faithful.”
The Holy Father noted that the archbishop devoted long hours each day to prayer and other pious practices, with “a particularly long time … dedicated to Eucharistic adoration.”
“Zygmunt Gorazdowski became famous for the devotion founded on the celebration and adoration of the Eucharist. Living Christ’s offering urged him towards the sick, the poor and the needy,” Benedict XVI said.
Prayer and action
Alberto Hurtado, said the Pope, is “a true contemplative in action. In love and in the total commitment to God’s will, he found the strength for the apostolate. He founded The Home of Christ for the most needy, and for those without a roof, offering them a family atmosphere full of human warmth.”
Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, was present at the ceremony, as were the presidents of the country’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies. Also in attendance were more than 7,000 Chileans, who responded with songs and cheers every time the Pope mentioned the name of their country’s newly canonized saint.
Regarding the closing of the Year of the Eucharist, the Holy Father said: “How providential, in this perspective, is the fact that today the Church points out to all its members five new saints who, nourished by Christ the living bread, were converted to love and modeled their whole existence to this!”
“In different situations and with different charisms,” he said, “they loved the Lord with all their heart and the neighbor as themselves to thus become ‘an example to all believers.'”