VENERATION OF SAINTS, BLESSEDS AND THEIR RELICS

Who are the Saints?
What is a Beatification?
What is a Canonization?
What is a Miracle?
What is Veneration of Blesseds and Saints?
What is the Difference between Veneration given to a Blessed and to a Saint?

On Relics

SAINTS AND BLESSEDS

Who are the Saints?

A saint is a disciple of Jesus Christ, who “lived a life of extraordinary fidelity to the Lord.” Saints are people who in this life were so united to Jesus Christ that with His help they strove to do “the will of the Father in everything,” devoting themselves “to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbour.” Saints give us shining examples of all the virtues, including: faith, hope, and love both of God and every human being; prudence (or practical wisdom), justice, fortitude (or courage), and temperance (or self-mastery); detachment, purity, and obedience; humility, simplicity and magnanimity. Each saint is noteworthy for certain particular virtues. For this reason, the Church proposes them to its members as friends and companions in the following of Christ, as models to imitate, and as intercessors with God.

What is a Beatification?

Beatification is an official declaration by the Pope that a person (called a Servant of God) practiced the Christian virtues to a heroic degree during his or her sojourn on earth. Before the Servant of God under consideration is beatified, a thorough examination of his or her life, virtues, and reputation for holiness is conducted. If the Servant of God did not die a martyr’s death, there must also be one confirmed miracle attributed to his or her intercession. Beatified persons are called Blesseds. They may receive the veneration of the faithful within certain limits set by the Church, but may not be venerated in an organized public manner throughout the whole Church.

From Blessed to Saint

A Blessed may be canonized after the occurrence of one more miracle attributed to his or her intercession. Mother Teresa will always remain Mother for those who knew her, hence many people call her “Blessed Mother Teresa,” but officially she is now known as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta” and later, God willing, as “Saint Teresa of Calcutta.” 

What is a Canonization?

The canonization of a saint i a solemn act by which the Pope, the supreme authority in the Catholic Church, declares that a person practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace, is with God in heaven, and is to be venerated throughout the whole Church. The Pope enrols the person on the list of Saints. Another word for list is canon, hence the term canonization. The expression raised to the altars, often used as an equivalent of canonization, means that the person is assigned a feast day in the yearly schedule of the Church’s liturgical celebrations. This assigning of a feast day is done at the time of beatification.

The Purpose of Canonization

By honouring its children who lived as heroes of faith and love, the Church recognizes the power of the Holy Spirit within her. Saints give us joy; their example sustains our hope; and their friendship increases our love and union with God and with each other. A canonization is a way of giving thanks to God as we honour the person who has been so faithful to God’s plan in his or her life.

What is a Miracle?

A miracle is an extraordinary event, which is scientifically inexplicable and, in a cause for canonization, is directly attributable to the intercession of the Servant of God. An event proposed as a miracle is subjected to a thorough scientific investigation by experts. In the causes of saints, the miracles investigated are usually cures, because they are relatively easier to document.

 
Miracles and graces or favours, granted after prayers to the Servant of God, serve as evidence that God Himself is the origin of that person’s reputation of holiness. A miracle is a sign of divine approval. Miracles confirm that it is God who has aroused in the faithful the opinion that a particular Servant of God is worthy of canonization.

What is Veneration?

Veneration is respect, honour, and devotion paid to the saintly deceased members of the Body of Christ, distinct from the respect, honour, and adoration which is given to God alone – that which is called worship. “…Our communion with these in heaven, provided that it is understood in the full light of faith, in no way diminishes the worship of adoration given to God the Father, through Christ, in the Spirit; on the contrary, it greatly enriches it. For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity – all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ (cf. Heb. 3:6) – we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church and will share in a foretaste of the liturgy of perfect glory.” (Lumen Gentium #51)

 “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honoured with great respect the memory of the dead …” (Lumen Gentium #50)

 “…[The saints] contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were ‘put in charge of many things.’ Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2683)

 “It is most fitting, therefore, that we love those friends and co-heirs of Jesus Christ who are also our brothers and outstanding benefactors, and that we give due thanks to God for them, humbly invoking them, and having recourse to their prayers, their aid and help in obtaining from God through his Son, Jesus Christ, … the benefits we need.” (Lumen Gentium #50) 

What is the Difference Between Veneration given to a Blessed and to a Saint?

Beatification is a step in the process of canonization. By it the Pope allows public veneration of the person in a particular local Church, within the religious congregation with which he or she was associated (if this be the case), and in other places by those who receive such permission. Note the difference: a Saint should be honoured in liturgical celebrations by the universal, that is, the whole Church, whereas a “Blessed” may be so honoured in certain places.

 

Postulator
524 West Calle Primera, Suite #1005N
San Ysidro CA 92173
USA
Tel. 0052-664 621 3763 

Postulazione di Madre Teresa
Piazza S. Gregorio al Celio, 2
00184 Rome
ITALY
Tel. 0039-06-772 60230

 

 

 

 

 

......