Saturday, October 20, 2012
In Rome, for the canonization of Mother Marianne and Kateri Tekakwitha
More than 350 people in the official pilgrimage of the Syracuse Diocese, led by Bishop Robert Cunningham, left Tuesday. Approximately 250 from the Diocese of Honolulu are also in Rome.
The pilgrims will spend time touring the Vatican, sacred sites and Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, before attending the canonization of Mother Marianne, the former Syracuse Franciscan leader known for her 35-year ministry to leprosy patients in Hawaii.
Nine patients of the former leprosy settlement in Kalaupapa, where Mother Marianne ministered from 1883 until her death in 1918, will attend the canonization. The patients, who began their pilgrimage with a stop in Central New York last weekend, represent the 8,000 patients exiled by Hawaii over about 100 years.
The Upstate group will also celebrate the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, a 17th century Mohawk convert who lived in the area that is now Albany.
Kateri and Mother Marianne are among seven people Pope Benedict XVI will formally declare saints in an outdoor Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Pilgrims celebrating Mother Marianne’s canonization include Sharon Smith, of Chittenango. The Vatican in December said it could find no medical explanation for Smith’s recovery in 2005 from severe pancreatitis and infection. That miracle was attributed to the intercession of Mother Marianne, and was a final step in the Vatican procedure that made her eligible for sainthood.
About 200 people connected with the Albany Diocese are in Rome, and the Archdiocese of Seattle has sent 67 people on its official pilgrimage. That group includes 12-year-old Jake Finkbonner and his family. The Vatican says the Ferndale, Wash., boy miraculously recovered from a flesh-eating illness in 2006 after prayers to Kateri Tekakwitha (pronounced Gah-deh-LEE Day-gah-GWEE-deh in Mohawk) on his behalf.
The Finkbonners are of Lummi descent; Kateri is the first Native American saint.
Hundreds of Mohawk Catholics from the North Country and Canada are also in Rome, as is a large group organized by the Kateri Tekakwitha Conference, a national organization based in Great Falls Montana. A small group of Syracusans is led by the Rev. Jim Carey, who was the first priest of the Syracuse Diocese assigned to minister to Native American Catholics in the late 1970s.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops estimated that up to 4,000 pilgrims from at least 15 diocese will be at the canonization.
On Saturday, the Hawaiian and Syracuse pilgrimages will attend a prayer service at the Church of San Gregorio Settimo, in Rome. The group will attend a Mass of Thanksgiving Monday at the Basilica Dei Santi Apostoli, in Rome.
A Mass of Thanksgiving for Saint Kateri is planned for Monday morning at St. Peter’s Basilica. The Shenandoah Trio will perform at the event.
The Post-Standard will cover the canonization.
Watch the canonization Mass live on EWTN or EWTN.com at 3:30 a.m. (Rome is six hours ahead of Syracuse) and 11 a.m. Sunday.
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