Sunday, October 14, 2018

Seven new saints

Today was a day of great joy in Rome, and in the Church as a whole. Seven new saints were canonized in one ceremony, including Pope Paul VI (my first Pope when I was growing up) and Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. A very powerful film was made about +Romero in 1989 starring Raul Julia. If you get a chance to see it, you should.

The bishops first gathered in the basilica itself for vesting and general getting ready:

Once all was set, we headed out to the upper level of the steps, as the mass was to take place outside. It was a gorgeous day! Banners were hung off the balconies of Saint Peter's showing the images of the seven saints to be canonized. I could only get 6 in the frame of my camera at once, so here are two pictures of the banners so you can see all 7 images:

I had never been to a canonization mass before, so I was not too sure what to expect. As it turns out, it was pretty much like any other mass, with a few additions. We began with the sign of the cross as usual, and then we began the ritual of canonization. After the singing of the Veni Creator Spiritus, the Prefect of the Congregation for Saints came forward and made a formal request asking the Pope to canonize the seven candidates. A brief biography was ready for each, and the Pope declared that their enrollment among the saints and that the Christian faithful could venerate each as such. We sang the Gloria, and the Pope ordered that Apostolic letters be drafted for each saint corresponding to the declaration that had just been made. The mass then proceeded as usual.

Except, of course, it was not a usual mass! The ritual was pretty much the same (with the nice touch of the 7 new saints being mentioned at the appropriate spot in Eucharistic Prayer III), but the size of the event was huge. Since seeing is believing, I made this little video at the end to give you a sense of scale:

After mass was over we hopped a small shuttle bus that let 3 of the Canadian bishops off close to the Canadian College in Rome, where a reception and lunch was hosted for the bishops of the Synod by the rector and residents of the college. It was a nice conclusion to the morning's events.

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