Updated: May 24, 2021 02:25 PM GMT
Father Mariano Gazpio had great devotion to the Eucharist, the Sacred Heart and the Virgin Mary. (Photo: Augustinian Recollects)
Pope Francis has advanced the sainthood causes of seven people, including a Spanish missionary priest to China and a Peruvian nun who was murdered by Maoist guerrillas.
On May 22, the pope authorized the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints to issue seven new degrees during a meeting with the congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro.
The step means the candidates are now proclaimed as “venerable” following their qualification with “heroic virtues.”
The Vatican has a three-stage canonization process by which a candidate may be declared venerable, then proclaimed blessed and, lastly, canonized as a saint.
For candidates who are not martyrs, the Vatican requires a miracle certified as due to their intercession for a venerable candidate to be beatified. A second miracle is then required for canonization.
The pope recognized the heroic virtues of Father Mariano Gazpio, a Spanish member of the Order of Augustinian Recollects who served in China as a missionary.
He read the Bible frequently, so much so that at any moment he would be caught with an open Bible on his desk
Born in Puente la Reina, Navarre, on Dec. 18, 1899, Gazpio moved to China in 1924 and began his missionary work in Shangqiu city in Henan province. For the next 28 years, Father Gazpio was highly regarded for his apostolic zeal, piety and love for the poor, according to Augustinian Recollects’ website.
Father Gazpio had great devotion to the Eucharist, the Sacred Heart and the Virgin Mary.
“Besides the community hours for prayer, he spent many more in the oratory or in the choir in personal prayer. His contract with God was continuous,” it said.
“He read the Bible frequently, so much so that at any moment he would be caught with an open Bible on his desk. In spiritual direction, he would use biblical references continually.”
The priest remained in China despite rising religious persecution following the communist revolution. He was expelled along with other foreign missionaries in 1952.
He died in Pamplona on Sept. 22, 1989. He was declared a “Servant of God” — the diocesan prelude to beatification — in 2000.
The martyrdom of Sister Augustian Rivas Lopez, popularly known as “Aguchita,” was also recognized by the Vatican.
Born in Coracora in central Peru on June 13, 1920, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd in 1942. She served the Asháninka, an indigenous people living in the rainforests of Peru.
The congregation’s website described her as “a free, strong, infinitely charitable woman with a deep faith in God.”
The Shining Path, a Maoist guerilla movement, murdered her along with six other people in La Florida village on Sept. 27, 1990, while she was serving the indigenous people.
Pope Francis also recognized the heroic virtues of five other candidates for canonization.
Father Felice Canelli, a diocesan priest born in San Severo city in southeast Italy on Oct. 14, 1880, was known for his outstanding service to the poor. He died in the same city on Nov. 23, 1977.
Father Bernard Kryszkiewicz, a Passionist priest, was born in Mława, northeast Poland, on May 2, 1915. The priest served the wounded during the Second World War, from where he contracted typhus and died on July 7, 1945, at the age of 30.
Mother Colomba di Gesù Ostia was a prioress of a Discalced Carmelite monastery in Marcianise, southern Italy. She was born in the town on June 15, 1914, and died there on August 13, 1969.
Antonia Lesino was a member of the Piccola Famiglia Francescana, an Italian secular institute. She was born in Milan on Oct. 11, 1897, and died in Brescia on Feb. 24, 1962.
Alexander Bálint, a layman and father of a family, was born in Szeged Alsóváros, Hungary, on Aug. 1, 1904. He died in Budapest on May 10, 1980.
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