Pope Francis to Hold Consistory in Last Step Before Canonization of Bl. Charles de Foucauld

The canonizations will be the first since the start of the worldwide COVID-19 emergency.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Blessed Charles de Foucauld (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Francis will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory next week, the last step before the canonizations of seven men and women, including Bl. Charles de Foucauld, can take place.

The consistory will be at 10:00 a.m. on May 3, after the praying of Terce, or mid-morning prayer, from the Liturgy of the Hours.

At the consistory, cardinals will vote to approve the canonizations of seven beatified men and women. This vote is the last step in the canonization process and allows a date to be set for a Mass of canonization.

Only cardinals present in Rome will take part in the consistory, which will be held in the consistory hall in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

The canonizations will be the first since the start of the worldwide COVID-19 emergency. The last canonization Mass took place on Oct. 13, 2019, when the Anglican convert, theologian, and philosopher St. John Henry Newman was canonized in the presence of tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis approved the canonization cause of Bl. Charles de Foucauld in May 2020. The French missionary, also known as Brother Charles of Jesus, was killed in Algeria in 1916.

De Foucauld was a soldier, explorer, Catholic revert, priest, hermit, and religious brother, who served among the Tuareg people in the Sahara desert in Algeria.

He was assassinated by a band of men at his hermitage in the Sahara on Dec. 1, 1916.

The May 3 consistory will also vote on the canonization of  Devasahayam Pillai, a lay man from India who was martyred after converting from Hinduism to Catholicism in the 18th century.

Pillai, who is also known by his baptismal name of Lazarus, was beatified in 2012 in southern India. He will be the first lay Catholic in India to be declared a saint.

Seven years after his conversion, Pillai was killed at the age of 40 by gunshot, after he had been falsely accused of treason, arrested, and tortured for three years.

Other canonization causes being voted on May 3 are the foundress of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of Loano Bl. Maria Francesca di Gesù, and the co-foundress and first general superior of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family Bl. Maria Domenica Mantovani. 

The canonizations of three priests who founded religious congregations and institutes, Bl. César de Bus, Bl. Luigi Maria Palazzolo, and Bl. Giustino Maria Russolillo, will also be voted on.

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