At WYD Mass with seminarians, pope says he'll proclaim St. John of Avila a new Doctor of the Church
MADRID — Telling seminarians they must prepare seriously for the priesthood by devoting themselves to becoming saints, Pope Benedict XVI gave them a role model: St. John of Avila, who will become the Catholic Church's 34th doctor of the church.
Pictured: Pope Benedict XVI talks with a young priesthood candidate as he celebrates Mass with seminarians inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Almudena in Madrid Aug. 20. During the service, the pope announced his decision to proclaim St. John of Avila, patron of Spanish clergy, as the 34th doctor of the Church. The pope was in Spain for the celebration of World Youth Day. (CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)
At the end of a Mass Aug. 20 with some 6,000 seminarians from around the world, the pope announced he soon would add the 16th-century Spanish saint to the short list of saints formally recognized for making a big mark on Catholic theology through their teaching and writing. His remarks were greeted with sustained applause in Madrid's Almudena Cathedral.
Pope Benedict entrusted all the seminarians, as well as priests and bishops, to the intercession of St. John, a master of spirituality and a renowned preacher.
"As they persevere in the same faith which he taught, may they model their hearts on that of Jesus Christ the good shepherd," the pope prayed.
Pope Benedict did not say when he would make the formal proclamation, and while the announcement was a bit of a surprise, it was almost a replay of how the news came out the last time a pope declared a doctor of the church.
The 33rd saint honored with the title was St. Thérèse of Lisieux. It was during World Youth Day in Paris in 1997 that Blessed John Paul II made the announcement; the formal ceremony was held at the Vatican two months later.
The doctors of the church are all saints and come from both the Eastern and Western church traditions. They include early church fathers like Sts. Jerome, John Chrysostom and Augustine, as well as major theologians like Sts. Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure and John of the Cross. In addition to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the women doctors of the church are Sts. Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Aug. 20 that a date for the ceremony has not been set.
He described St. John of Avila, who lived 1500-1569, as "a great master of priestly spirituality," and an important influence on Spanish Catholic luminaries like St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
"He was one of the important figures of the golden age of Spanish spirituality," Father Lombardi said.
During the Mass for seminarians attending World Youth Day, Pope Benedict said the young men preparing for priesthood are "proof of how Christ continues to call young disciples and to make them his apostles."
Pope Benedict told the students their time in the seminary "should be years of interior silence, of unceasing prayer, of constant study" and gradual introduction into pastoral activities.
But prayer, study and pastoral activity are not enough, he said: The seminarians must strive for holiness.
"The holiness of the church is, above all, the objective holiness of the very person of Christ" and "we have to be saints so as not to create a contradiction between the sign that we are and the reality that we wish to signify."
Seminarians must be open to the grace of the Holy Spirit that will help them decide to live a life of celibacy, simplicity and obedience, he said.
"Approach the priesthood only if you are firmly convinced that God is calling you to be his ministers, and if you are completely determined to exercise it in obedience to the church's precepts," he said.
— Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
- Next >>
Patron saints of familiesThere's a saint for everyone, and families are no different. Here are a few noteworthy examples for your family to learn more about. There is the familiar and beloved St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, and St. Francis of Assisi, who's on everyone's...
Reflections on St. PeterPeter the fishermanAfter Jesus, Peter is the figure best known and most frequently cited in the New Testament writings: he is mentioned 154 times with the nickname of Pétros, "rock," the Greek translation of the Aramaic name Jesus gave him directly;...
Pope Francis on the Year of FaithPope Francis spoke about the Year of Faith in his audience with representatives of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities, and other religions March 20: "I begin my apostolic ministry in this year that my venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict...
As pope, Benedict worked to promote understanding of Vatican IIVATICAN CITY — On Feb. 14, in one of the last public appearances of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the clergy of Rome about his experiences at the Second Vatican Council, which he had attended as an expert consultant half a century...
People around world pledge to say rosary daily during Year of FaithEASTON, Mass. — The Family Rosary division of Holy Cross Family Ministries in Easton has gathered more than 80,000 pledges from people around the globe who said they would pray the rosary daily during the 2012-13 Year of Faith. The pledges,...
A culture of lifeIn 2013 our country observes a shameful anniversary: marking 40 years of a "culture of death" that began when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, struck down all state laws restricting abortion. Since the advent of "legalized" abortion,...
The Fathers of the Church
Lives of the Saints
St. Justin Martyr, patron of philosophers, honored June 1On June 1, one day before 2011's celebration of the Ascension of Christ, the Catholic Church honors the memory of the early Christian philosopher St. Justin Martyr. Justin was born around the year 100 in the Palestinian province of Samaria,...
Roman martyrs Sts. Marcellinus and Peter remembered June 2On June 2, the Catholic Church remembers two fourth-century martyrs, Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, who were highly venerated after the discovery of their tomb and the conversion of their executioner. Although the biographical details of these two martyrs...
St. Barnabas, 'son of encouragement' Feast day: June 11Catholics will celebrate the memory of St. Barnabas on June 11. The apostle and missionary was among Christ's earliest followers and was responsible for welcoming St. Paul into the Church. Though not one of the 12 apostles chosen by the Lord, Jesus, he...
St. Anthony of Padua, 'Hammer of Heretics,' honored June 13On June 13, Catholics honor the memory of the Franciscan priest St. Anthony of Padua. Although he is popularly invoked today by those who have trouble finding lost objects, he was known in his own day as the "Hammer of Heretics" due to the powerful...
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, patron of AIDS patients, remembered June 21On June 21, the Church celebrates the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. St. Aloysius had a great desire to serve and know God as a young boy, but his family life was not always aligned with his desire. He was born into a noble Italian family and...
- Read the Catechism in a year: A little to read every day, emailed each morning during the Year of Faith
- USCCB: Stories, videos and more about the Year of Faith
- Annusfidei.va: Vatican's Year of Faith website
- Catholic Relief Services: Features and stories about Year of Faith
- My Year of Faith App: Daily prayers, reflections and thoughts
- Video Catechism for Teens: A free online resource for youths and young adults
- Weekly video series: “C4: Ignite Your Catholic Faith”
- OnceCatholic.org: Geared for people who have left their Catholic faith
- Explore the Sacraments: An 8-part video series on the Sacraments
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy