Vatican Media Watch

John Paul to Proclaim More Saints

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Feb. 17 — Pope John Paul II will proclaim five more saints at a consistory of cardinals next week, the Vatican told the French news service.

This will increase the total during his pontificate to 487.

The five new saints include two Poles, Jozef Bilczewski (1860-1923), a bishop in John Paul’s native country, and Zygmunt Gorazdowski (1845-1920), a priest who founded the order of the sisters of Saint Joseph, Italian Gaetano Catanoso (1879-1963), who founded the order of the sisters of Saint Veronica, Chilean Jesuit Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952), and a Cypriot Franciscan friar, Felice da Nicosia (1715-1785).

The Pope has declared 1,338 beatifications, the first step towards sainthood, since he took office in October 1978, the report said.

Nuncio Offers Condolences to Prime Minister’s Family

ASIANEWS, Feb. 15 — Apostolic Nuncio Luigi Gatti offered condolences to the family of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed Feb. 14 by a car-bomb.

Msgr. Gatti went to the Hariri home, located in the central area of West Beirut, accompanied by Archeparch Gregorios III Laham, Greek-Melkite patriarch of Damascus, according to Asianews. Hariri had maintained close ties with the Christian world and the Vatican.

Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, who also accompanied Msgr. Gatti to the Hariri home, said in a Feb. 15 statement, “This crime goes against our traditions . . . His legacy will be kept alive in Lebanon’s memory.”

 Hariri died at the age of 60. He had resigned Oct. 20, 2004, after weeks of tension and a political impasse related to a constitutional amendment, considered to be the result of Syrian pressure, which extended President Emile Lahoud’s administration, the report said.

Father Damien Miracle Bears Closer Look

HONOLULU ADVERTISER, Feb. 15 — The cure of a Hawaiian woman’s cancer attributed to Blessed Father Damien may have had help from another divine source, according to the Hawaii newspaper

With that in mind, Father Emilio Vega Garcia, postulator for the cause of Father Damien, will convene a tribunal to reinvestigate a miracle upon which Damien’s cause for sainthood is based. The woman, whose cancerous tumor reportedly regressed suddenly after prayers to Damien, is still alive, but her name has not been released, the paper reported.

Patrick Downes, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, said the tribunal likely will take several weeks while the testimony of doctors and witnesses is taken.

Damien was beatified in 1995, which gives him the title “blessed.” Another substantiated miracle is needed for him to become a saint.

The plan is to re-interview witnesses and send the results back to Rome, the report said.

Downes said the tribunal is a matter of gathering more information the Vatican wants, to move along the process of sainthood.