Soon-to-Be-Beatified Belgian Was Renowned as Confessor

Franciscan Father Valentin Paquay

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2003 ( Among the five people to be beatified next Sunday is Belgian priest Father Valentin Paquay, a Franciscan who radiated apostolic fervor by preaching, hearing confessions and giving spiritual direction.

The priest of the Order of Friars Minor was so assiduous in the confessional that at times he was compared to the Curé of Ars.

Valentin Paquay was born in Tongres, Belgium, on Nov. 17, 1828. He was the fifth of 11 children of Enrico and Anna Neven. He was given the name Louis at baptism.

In 1847 he entered the Order of Friars Minor of the Belgian Province. Ordained a priest in Liege in 1854, he was sent to the Monastery of Hasselt, where he stayed for the rest of his life.

Father Paquay was known for his tireless apostolate. He preached constantly, both in popular realms and religious institutes.

He had a singular devotion to the Eucharist, and in his apostolate emphasized the importance of frequent Communion.

He promoted worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and always kept alive the memory of the passion of Jesus, which he recalled in a daily Stations of the Cross.

Father Paquay died Jan. 1, 1905, at age 77. Pope Paul VI recognized his heroic virtues in 1970.

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