Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Canonization process of Cardinal Van Thuan goes forward




July 9, 2013 (Romereports.com) The life of late Cardinal, Francis Xavier Van Thuan was unique, and perhaps even saintly. From being imprisoned for over a decade to becoming one of the main prelates of his native Vietnam.

WALDERY HILGEMAN
Van Thuan Cause for Canonization
“Saints stand out from the rest, not because they were perfect but because they made it a point, despite the challenges, to follow Christ closely. It's about living one's Christian vocation at a heroic level.”

The first stage of his canonization process,  known as the Diocesan Process, has come to a close. It involved thousands of pages that include testimonies, his own writings and accounts on his life and how he carried out his faith.

LUISA MELO
Cardinal Van Thuan Canonization
“The presence of Cardinal Van Thuan is alive. He may not be here physically, but spiritually he is. I feel it.”

He served as a Cardinal and as the President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Justice and Peace.  But, perhaps the period that stands out the most, are the 13 years he spent behind bars, nine of them in solitary confinement.  The communist regime, arrested him in 1975, when he was ordained a Bishop.  He was never tried or sentenced. Even so, he always encouraged people, to leave the past behind.

CARD. François-Xavier VAN THUAN
September 2002
“As I said the other day, the future is much more exciting than the past.”

During that time, the government actually had to replace the prison guards, because one by one, they too became Catholic. His signature cross, he wore even after being released, was made with the help of the guards.

WALDERY HILGEMAN
Van Thuan Cause for Canonization
“The prison guards helped him out. They gave him some electrical wire. He cut out the plastic covering and made a chain out of it. He placed his handmade cross on that chain and wore it around his neck.”

Those who knew him best, say he was always cheerful. Even in the last days of his life, he would crack jokes, laugh and mimmick those around him. He would often say that if he wasn't a priest, he would have been a comedian.

LUISA MELO
Cardinal Van Thuan Canonization
“He would imitate John Paul II, Cardinal Sodano, and all of us, really. Each one of us. He was very good at it. He combined his simple spirit with his great sense of humor.”

Cardinal Van Thuan died on September 16th, 2002. His canonization process began in 2007, on the fifth anniversary of his death.

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