HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL
CANONIZATION OF 5 BLESSEDS
Solemnity of Pentecost
Sunday, 19 May 2002
Reprinted from Vatican news - May 2002
1. "We hear them announcing in our own tongues the mighty
works of God" (Acts 2,11).
On the day of Pentecost, this is what the crowd of
pilgrims "from every nation under heaven" exclaimed when they listened to
the preaching of the Apostles.
On this day of Pentecost, we are filled with the same
wonder, while we contemplate the great miracles worked by God in the lives
of the five new saints raised to the glory of the altars:
Alphonsus of Orozco, a priest of the Order of St Augustine;
Ignatius of Santhiá, a priest of the Order of the Capuchin Franciscans;
Umile of Bisignano, a religious of the Order of Friars Minor;
Pauline of the Suffering Heart of Jesus, virgin foundress of the
Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception; Benedetta Cambiagio
Frassinello, religious, foundress of the Congregation of the Benedictine
Sisters of Providence.
They travelled the highways of the world announcing and
witnessing to Christ with their words and their lives. This is why they have
become an eloquent sign of the perennial Pentecost of the Church.
2. "Receive the Holy Spirit: whose sins you shall
forgive, they are forgiven" (Jn 20, 22-23).
With these words, the Risen One bestows on the Apostles the
gift of the Spirit and with it the divine power to forgive sins. The
Ignatius of Santhiá lived uniquely the mission of forgiving sins and
of guiding men and women on the paths of evangelical perfection. For the
love of Christ and to advance more quickly in evangelical perfection he
walked in the footsteps of the Poverello of Assisi.
In the Piedmont of his time, Ignatius of Santhiá was father,
confessor, counsellor and teacher of many - priests, religious and lay
people - who sought his wise and enlightened guidance. Even today he
continues to remind everyone of the values of poverty, simplicity and
authentic Christian life.
3. "Peace be with you" (Jn 20,19.21), Jesus said on appearing to the
Apostles in the Upper Room. Peace was the first gift of the Risen Christ to
the Apostles. The worthy son of the noble region of Calabria,
Umile of Bisignano, became the constant bearer of the peace of
Christ which is also the principle that has to inspire social peace. He
shared with Ignatius of Santhiá the same dedication to holiness in the
spiritual school of St Francis of Assisi and, in his turn, offered a special
witness of charity toward his neighbour.
In our society, in which all too often the traces of God
seem to have vanished, Fra Umile is a joyful and encouraging invitation to
meekness, kindness, simplicity, and a healthy detachment from the transient
goods of this world.
4. "To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common
good" (I Cor 12,7).
This is what happened in the life of
St Alphonsus of Orozco of the Order of St Augustine. Born in the
town of Oropesa, Toledo, religious obedience led him to pass through many
Spanish cities and towns until he ended his days in Madrid. His pastoral
dedication to serving the poorest in the hospitals and prisons makes him a
model for all who, under the guidance of the Spirit, base their entire life
on the love of God and of their neighbour, following the great commandment
5. The action of the Holy Spirit is revealed in a special way in the life
and mission of Mother Pauline. He inspired her to build a home, with a group of young
women friends, that was later called by the people the "Little Hospital of
St Virgilius" and destined to provide material and spiritual assistance to
the suffering and the marginalized. Thus in response to the plans of
Providence, is born the first religious community in Southern Brazil: named
the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. It was
in this hospital that "being-for-others" became the guiding motive for
Mother Pauline. In service to the poor and the suffering, she became a
manifestation of the Holy Spirit who is "the best comforter; the soul's most
welcome guest, sweet refreshment here below" (Sequence).
6. "O most blessed Light, fill the interior of the hearts of your
faithful ". The words of the Sequence are a beautiful summary of the
Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello and explain its extraordinary
Guided by divine grace, the new saint was concerned to
accomplish God's will with fidelity and coherence. With boundless confidence
in the Lord's goodness, she abandoned herself to his "loving Providence",
deeply convinced, as she liked to repeat, that one must "do everything
for love of God and to please him". This is the precious inheritance
that St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello left to her spiritual daughters that
today is offered to the entire Christian community.
7. "Come, Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in
them the fire of your love" (Gospel Acclamation).
Let us make our own this invocation of today's liturgy. The
Holy Spirit radically transformed the Apostles who out of fear had locked
themselves into the Upper Room, making them fervent heralds of the Gospel.
Down through the ages, the Spirit continues to support the Church in her
evangelizing mission, raising up in every age courageous witnesses to the
With the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin Mary received the gift
of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1,14). With her, and in communion with the new
saints, let us also implore the miracle of a new Pentecost for the Church.
For the humanity of our time let us ask an abundance of the gifts of the
Come Holy Spirit, enkindle the hearts of your faithful! Help
us to spread the fire of your love in the world. Amen!