October 31 is going to be a big day for Catholics in the USA! Another one of our own will be beatified— Fr Michael J. McGivney. There aren’t a lot of canonized saints who were born in the USA. But the number is growing and many deceased citizens of our country are progressing along towards canonization. Many are currently being investigated, including our own St Thea Bowman of Mississippi. Just three years ago, two American-born priests were beatified—Fr Stanley Rother, a martyr from Oklahoma, and Fr Solanus Casey of Detroit. But how does one gain the title “Saint”?
There’s a lot of work that goes into having someone canonized. You have to first investigate their life, read their writings, and speak with those who knew them to be sure that they truly led holy lives of heroic virtue. Once the investigation is started, the person gains the title “Servant of God.” Then all the necessary evidence of the person’s holiness is sent to Rome for the approval of the Vatican’s Congregation for Causes of Saints. If it is approved, the person gains the title “Venerable.”
If the Venerable is declared a martyr, then they are automatically approved for Beatification. But if they were not a martyr, then a miracle is needed. This miracle, typically a healing of some sort, would come through the intercession of the Venerable person and would be reported to the necessary group so that it can be investigated. It must be proven that there is no scientific explanation of the healing, both by the local diocese as well as the Vatican’s Congregation for Causes of the Saints. If the approval is given, then the Venerable is beatified, gaining the title “Blessed” and given a feast day on the Liturgical Calendar. After Beatification, everyone (martyr or not) needs one more miracle.
If that miracle is approved (as explained above), then the person is considered to be without a doubt in Heaven as a saint.
It has been proven that Fr McGivney interceded in Heaven on behalf of an unborn child with Down Syndrome at risk of dying because of fluid buildup within his major organs. There is no explanation as to how this now 5 year old boy is alive and well, other than a miracle. Miracles do happen. And sainthood is possible, even for you! Let us find inspiration through our American-born beati and saints! And let us pray that more may be recognized soon, according to God’s holy will!
Fr. Scott and Fr. Mark plan to trade months in offering a weekly reflection or catechesis in our future bulletins. Be sure to check out what they have to share!
Spiritual Leader: Fr. Scott Thomas – Group Leader: Erica Unz, DHS
May 3 - 12, 2021
Make your way through the Holy Land to experience Him, follow in His footsteps, and see Him in the works He performed - your footsteps will become His. Celebrate votive Masses in the very places where these miraculous gifts became pages in the Gospel. See where He was back then, and feel how He is still there today!
For more information visit Father Scott's webpage.