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BE HOLY!!! for I, the Lord your God, am holy! (Lv 19:2)



40. The Lord Jesus, the divine Teacher and Model of all perfection, preached holiness of life to each and everyone of His disciples of every condition. He Himself stands as the author and consumator of this holiness of life: "Be you therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect". Indeed He sent the Holy Spirit upon all men that He might move them inwardly to love God with their whole heart and their whole soul, with all their mind and all their strength and that they might love each other as Christ loves them. The followers of Christ are called by God, not because of their works, but according to His own purpose and grace. They are justified in the Lord Jesus, because in the baptism of faith they truly become sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. In this way they are really made holy. Then too, by God's gift, they must hold on to and complete in their lives this holiness they have received. They are warned by the Apostle to live "as becomes saints", and to put on "as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience", and to possess the fruit of the Spirit in holiness. Since truly we all offend in many things we all need God's mercies continually and we all must daily pray: "Forgive us our debts".

Thus it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity; by this holiness as such a more human manner of living is promoted in this earthly society. In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. They must follow in His footsteps and conform themselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history.


BE HOLY!!! for I, the Lord your God, am holy!     (Lv 19:2)

     ♦ The call to be holy is universal

All peoples are called to be holy. Within the Catholic Christian church, the concern is to emphasize that Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Son of Mary, calls all the baptized to holiness as found exemplified in his life and mission.  The purpose of this column is to share information on the status of the various Causes which the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts has presented to the Church, in the diocesan or in the Roman phase.


The Rule of the Congregation, a way to holiness 

The Rule of the Congregation (SSCC) as approved by the Church leads a brother or sister to be opened to this divine call to holiness as expressed in the charism of the community. While all are called, the reputation for holiness in the lives of some is seen as a model and worthy of veneration. Holiness is never private. The call and response is part of the fabric of the Church in the world. The process of beatification and canonization is an affirmation of the public, missionary character of holiness. This is how God through the Church both inspires and calls the world to holiness, at times in the local setting (beatification) and sometimes in all the settings of the  world church (canonization).


Servants of God and the process of beatification and canonization

We are all servants of God and the Pope is “servant of servants of God”. One whose cause is introduced is notably called Servant of God.

The word process is a good term to use because there are many steps in the well-disciplined discernment of the life and holiness of a Servant of God (SG). The old phrase “raised to the altar” accurately states the meaning of beatification and canonization. It means that the blessed or canonized person may be given official, public veneration.  Their image may be in the public place of worship, their names may be part of the Eucharistic prayer and prayers may be prayed in the church’s liturgy through their intercession.

Before that happens, there are many steps. The SG will already have been presented as a model of living the Gospel. And the story of his or her witness and holiness needs to be told. There needs to be private veneration and the more widespread the better. There are many who were holy persons. The argument needs to be made that the life and holiness of this person is particularly noteworthy for many people and on an ongoing basis. The local bishop in dialogue with the Bishops of his region makes that determination. He is asked to do so by the people of a particular place or the brothers or sisters of a religious order or the members of a particular group which has been formed to promote the story of the holiness of a SG. 

Think of it as the church holding up a mirror and seeing in one of the brothers or sisters in Christ a reflection of what the church says that it is, people claimed as a community by God in Jesus Christ. These SGs were relevant to their times and therein called to holiness. Their story is relevant to the circumstances of today.

The phases of the process of discernment

There are two phases in the discernment: diocesan and Roman. The diocesan phase gathers the evidence of a reputation of holiness before and after death. Rome discerns within the gathered testimony or documented biography the evidence of a life of virtue lived heroically, a model for the time the SG lived and a model for today.

Think of the difference between beatification and canonization as the difference between a local church and the universal church. At one point there was thought to have only canonization. However, the emphasis on local church, the impact of the episcopal role on the level of one diocese or of a conference of Bishops for many dioceses argued for the retention of beatification. However, few canonized today gain a worldwide veneration. This is an aspect of the process under constant review. The history of the church is not only the history of holy people but also and rightly so, the history of the processes leading to holiness.


♦The Roman phase

While the gathering of evidence, documental and testimonial, is the work on the diocesan level, that of the Roman level is to study all that has been presented by the diocesan inquiry and put it in a way to show the heroicity of virtue, less dependent today on the wondrous and more dependent on a critical, documented biography that shows the life of the SG in its historical, social environment and in terms of spiritual and psychological development.

The Roman document is called Positio on the Virtues (faith, hope, charity, and temperance, prudence, fortitude and justice). The reform of John Paul II removed many rounds of promotion and defense and the process is now basically in the hands of one called relatore who is charged with overseeing the preparation of the Positio for the discernment of the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints. The work of the Postulator is to petition the Congregation on behalf of those who move the cause. He or she in turn does this work through one called the collaborator. The last named can be one who does this work professionally or one appointed because of familiarity with the story of the SG. For instance, the postulator would work with a member of the religious community of which the SG was a member or with a representative of the diocese where the SG was a parishioner.

Based on the Positio could arrive the papal decree of heroicity. From this point the one said to be "heroic in virtue" is referred to by the title "Venerable". While the papal decree of this heroicity of virtue is confirmed by wonderful deeds discerned as miracles, normally there is no such discernment undertaken until after the Pope issues the decree of heroicity.

The decree of the heroicity of a martyr does not need a confirming miracle for beatification. That of a confessor does; both confessor and martyr need a further confirmation through a miracle for canonization.


How are the SSCC causes of beatification and canonization proceeding...? 


GOOD MOTHER:               
Click here to read about her

The diocesan phase is ended, even with a supplementary session, since the cause is now considered “ancient”, that is beyond one or two generations of living witnesses. The documentation was handed over to the Congregation for Cause of the Saints (Feb 27, 2009). So, the Roman phase has been opened. There is now what we call copia publica which is an accepted compilation of all the evidence gathered on the diocesan level. The next step will be to complete the Positio. At present there is a need to prepare someone for this arduous task. The materials gathered are plentiful and archived. 


GOOD FATHER:             
Clic here to know about him

The diocesan phase is now complete, including a supplementary session because of the resumption of the cause (March 19, 2007). The cause is now in the Roman phase. Bernard Couronne sscc is completing the documented biography and Alberto Toutin sscc, the collaborator, has already met with the relatore (of the Congregation of Saints) on the writing of the Positio.  The next step will be the completion of the Positio and then its study by two meetings of the Cardinals and Bishops who make up the Congregation of the Causes. A separate Positio will need to be presented when there is a prodigious healing to be theologically declared a miracle. 

Blessed EUSTAQUIO van LIESHOUT:      
Click here to know abou him

He was beatified on June 15, 2006. For his canonization a miracle is needed but the goal is not to be looking for a miracle. Rather, the message of his life needs to be venerated in the Congregation and in the diocese of Belo Horizonte, thanking and praising God for the gift of his life and witness. The goal of his intercession is that those asking be brought more deeply into the community of God´s praise. If any one of the marvelous deeds of God can be directly attributed to his intercession let the story be told and in the case of a physical healing let both the medical inexplicability be asserted and the miraculous character discerned. Looking for miracles is unworthy of the process, the praise of God and deeper inclusion into the community of the church is more to be desired.  In other words, the veneration of Blessed Eustaquio is to be promoted and the way in which he is a model for our times needs to be stressed. 

Blessed Martyrs of SPAIN of the XX century: Teófilo Fernández de Legaria Goñi, Isidro Iniguez of Ciriano Abechuco, Gonzalo Nanclares Barrón, Eladio López Ramos, Mario Ros Ezcurra.
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They were declared blessed martyrs on October 13, 2013, in Tarragona (Spain), along with more than 500 martyrs of the same period. There were other SSCC brothers whose lives were also taken. They were not beatified because the details of their deaths could not be documented to the satisfaction of the Congregation of the Causes. With regard to those beatified, the Church is now invited to continue to praise and thank God for their heroism and to seek their intercession for endurance in the faith in this time of increased persecution of Christians. A miracle is required for the canonization. They are to be thought of as one body and therefore one prodigious deed in their intercession would suffice for the canonization of all. 

"Martyrs of the Commune" of Paris: Frézal (Jean Pierre) Tardieu, Ladislas (Armand) Radigue, Marcellin (Jean Marie) Rouchouze, Polycarpe (Jules) Tuffier    
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This cause was resumed following the decision of the General Chapter of 2012. The diocesan phase in a supplementary session of the historical commission is scheduled to close soon (probably May 2016) and the cause will be referred to Rome. Since the 150th anniversary is not far off (2021) there is renewed interest in a beatification.
Many died in the Commune and so the honoring of the some few whose cause was brought forward, honors the many who died although not necessarily out of hatred of the faith which is how the our brothers would have perceived their execution. 

The servant of God ESTEBAN GUMUCIO              
Click here to know about him    Fr. Esteban web site

The cause of Father Esteban Gumucio finished its diocesan phase in Santiago de Chile (2011). The documentation has been delivered to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The copia publica runs four volumes. The work on the Positio will begin soon. . 




Thank God, there is a large group of brothers and sisters who have witnessed throughout their lives the charism of the SSCC, expressed in the Rule as approved by the Holy See to contemplate, live and announce the love of God made flesh in Jesus Christ.

Fidelity in living the Constitutions of the Congregation and being faithful to the charism are fundamental points in the discernment of the heroicity of virtue within the coherence of a documented life. While all are servants of God, the lives of some SSCC have been more significant for the life of the Gospel in the world.

Please check out the list of significant brothers and sisters on our web site and you will notice names like Click here to know them

And in the SSCC Library you can read more about many other SSCC brothers and sisters. Click here

"Let us think always of becoming saints, dearest friends, and may the presence of God be the nourishment of our daily life."
(Good Father)

Let's be holy!!!