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Juan Diego, Padre Pio, Josemaria Escriva. (Vatican).

Vatican City--Following the recognition of the second miracles attributed to their individual intercession, Pope John Paul II will this year canonize Blessed Juan Diego of Mexico, Padre Pio da Pietrelcina of Italy, and Josemaria Escriva of Spain.

Juan Diego, born in 1474, was known by the Indian name of Cuauhlatoatzin until his conversion to Christianity in 1525. In 1531, he was favoured by apparitions of Our Lady on Tepeyac Hill, near the present Mexico City. Mary's image on Juan Diego's cloak, still preserved and often studied by scientists, helped persuade the local bishop to build the first shrine there to "Our Lady of Guadalupe."

The second miracle needed for his canonization occurred in May 1990. It concerned the "scientifically inexplicable" cure of Juan Jose Barragan of Mexico City. This young man, a marijuana addict, stabbed himself while under the influence of the drug, then threw himself from the balcony of his apartment building. Despite severe head injuries and other trauma, he made a complete recovery within three days, during which time his mother had prayed to Juan Diego.

The "humble Capuchin friar" and "spiritual son of St. Francis," Padre Pio (1887-1968) was renowned even in his lifetime for his spiritual depth and works of charity. He founded the House for Relief of Suffering near his monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. His canonization miracle cured the seven-year-old son of a doctor at the "Casa." Matteo Cotella, in a coma from acute meningitis, awoke cured following a prayer vigil attended by his mother and the friars.

Blessed Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-1975), born in Barbastro, Spain, was the founder of Opus Dei, an organization promoting sanctity of the laity which has now spread throughout the world. Several miracles have been attributed to his intercession; that which was considered for his canonization was the cure from cancerous radiodermatitis of Spanish surgeon Manuel Nevado Rey in 1994.

Opus Dei has often been made a focus of controversy, so it is not surprising that Toronto's Globe and Mail (Jan. 1) started the year 2002 with an attack by religion reporter Michael Valpy on its founder's canonization. Valpy quoted several hostile opinions of both the movement and its founder. According to him, the fundamental problem with Opus Dei is that it is "socially conservative," and "held in deep suspicion by Roman Catholic liberals," as well as being "secretive and elitist." While admitting that his followers revere Msgr. Escriva for his kindness and charity, Valpy felt he had to mention that "critics" (unnamed) saw "the taint of Nazi tendencies" in him.

One of those Catholic "liberals," columnist Fr. Richard McBrien of Notre Dame University, Indiana, thinks, in fact, that all three candidates for canonization are unsuitable models for ordinary Catholics! (Prairie Messenger, Jan 16/02).
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Title Annotation:blessed to be canonized by the Pope
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXVA
Date:Mar 1, 2002
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