VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has cleared the way
for the canonizations of Blesseds Paul VI and Oscar Romero.
At a meeting March 6 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect
of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, Pope Francis signed decrees for the
causes of 13 men and women -- among them a pope, an archbishop, two young laywomen
and a number of priests and nuns.
He recognized a miracle attributed to Blessed Paul, who,
according Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, will be declared
a saint in late October at the end of the Synod of Bishops on youth and
discernment. Blessed Paul, who was born Giovanni Battista Montini, was pope
from 1963 to 1978.
Pope Francis also formally signed the decree recognizing
the miracle needed to advance the sainthood cause of Archbishop Romero of San
El Salvador's ambassador to the Holy See, Manuel Roberto
Lopez, told Catholic News Service March 7 that the news of the pope's approval
"took us by surprise."
"They told us before that the process was going well
and that all we needed was the approval of the miracle, and it turns out the
pope approved it yesterday," he said.
Lopez told CNS that he was happy that Blessed Oscar
Romero's canonization was imminent and that his holiness was recognized
alongside one of his earliest supporters.
"To see that he will be canonized along with
(Blessed) Paul VI, who was a great friend of Archbishop Romero and supported
his work, is a great blessing," Lopez said.
The Vatican did not announce a date for Blessed Romero's canonization.
The pope also recognized the miracles needed for the canonization
of: Father Francesco Spinelli of Italy, founder of the Sisters Adorers of the
Blessed Sacrament; Father Vincenzo Romano of Italy; and Mother Maria Katharina Kasper,
founder of the religious congregation, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.
He recognized the miracle needed for the beatification of
Maria Felicia Guggiari Echeverria, a Discalced Carmelite from Paraguay whom Pope
Francis has upheld as a model for the youth of Paraguay. Affectionately called,
"Chiquitunga," she died from an unexpected illness in 1959 at the age
of 34 before she could make her final vows.
The pope also recognized the martyrdom of a 16-year-old laywoman from
Slovakia. Anna Kolesarova, who lived from 1928 to 1944 in the
eastern town of Pavlovce, was murdered during Slovakia's occupation by
Soviet army in World War II after refusing sexual favors to a Russian
In causes just beginning their way toward sainthood, the
pope signed decrees recognizing the heroic virtues of Polish Redemptorist Father
Bernard Lubienski, who entered the congregation in England and then returned to
Poland to re-found the Redemptorists there in the 20th century, and Sandra Sabattini,
a young Italian lay woman who was active in helping the poor with the Pope John
XXIII Community. She was hit by a car and died in 1984 at the age of 22.
The pope also recognized the heroic virtues of Antonio
Pietro Cortinovis of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (1885-1984) and three Italian
women -- two who founded religious orders and a laywoman who founded a lay