Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pope celebrates his first canonization ceremony: Those who help the needy, touch the flesh of Christ

May 12, 2013. ( With Latin American flags waving through St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis canonized two Hispanic nuns. 'Mother Lupita' from Mexico and 'Mother Laura' from Colombia were declared saints, along with roughly 800 Italian martyrs from Otranto.
The canonization of Sister Laura Montoya, marks the first time a Colombian has been raised to the altars. The Pope highlighted her tireless work in  both educating and evangelizing within indigenous communities.  

“St. Laura Montoya was an instrument of evangelization. First as teacher and then as the spiritual mother of the indigenous community. She brought them hope, by showing them the love she learned from God. She led them to God with an effective pedagogy that was not contrary to their own culture.”

The new Mexican saint dedicated her life to helping the poor. Speaking in Spanish, the Pope said her example should encourage others to help the needy.

“St. Guadalupe García Zavala understood this quite well. She left behind a comfortable life. Really, a comfortable life can cause damage, because being too comfortable paralyzes our hearts. So she, staying true to Jesus' calling, showed others to love poverty, so they could in turn love the poor and the needy even more. Mother Lupita would knell in a hospital before the sick and the abandoned, helping them with kindness and compassion. This means being connected with Christ, with the poor, the abandoned, the sick.  This is what it means to touch the flesh of Christ.”

The Pope also highlighted the faith and fidelity of the roughly 800 Italian martyrs who were canonized during that same Mass. They opted for death, instead of renouncing their faith.

At the end of the Mass, the Pope greeted all the delegations, including Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos, and a dignitary representing the President of Mexico. Roughly 80,000 people attended the Mass and the Pope made it a point to go beyond the Vatican border to greet the thousands of people who lined the streets.

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