Pope Welcomes Beatification of Lebanese Priest

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- After praying the Angelus today with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI welcomed the beatification in Lebanon of Stephan Nehmé, a religious of the Lebanese Maronite Order.

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«I heartily rejoice with the Lebanese brothers and sisters,» the Pope said, «and I entrust them with great affection to the protection of the new blessed.»

Archbishop Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, presided at today’s beatification liturgy in Kfifan.

Stephen Nehmé (born Joseph) was known for his constant awareness of God’s presence in his life. He was born in March 1889 in the town of Lehfed, in the Jbeil district, as the youngest of seven children.

In 1905, two years after his father’s death, Nehmé entered the novitiate of the Order of Maronites, in the Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina in Kfifan.

On Aug. 23, 1907, he made his monastic vows, taking the name Stephen after the patron saint of his birthplace.

Father Nehmé died Aug. 30, 1938, at the age of 49, of natural causes and was buried in the monastery at Kfifan, where his body remains intact.

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