Pope Goes Through Four-Hour Ceremony 8o,000 RECEIVE PAPAL BLESSING
THE FIRST CANONISATION IN ROME SINCE THE RAISING TO THE ALTAR OF ENGLISH MARTYRS, SS. THOMAS MORE AND JOHN FISHER, WAS CELEBRATED ON EASTER SUNDAY.
After England, Spain, Italy and Poland were honoured in the three new saints, S. Salvatore da Horta, S. John Leonardi and S. Andrew Bobola, S.J.
The Iloly Father at the age of 8o was able to endure without excessive fatigue ceremonies lasting nearly four hours. He left his apartments at 9.3o and gave the Apostolic Benediction from the balcony outside St. Peter's at 1.25.
It is estimated that inside the basilica there were 50,000 people present, while 80,000 were in the Piazza to receive the Apostolic Benediction.
Twenty-six cardinals and seventy bishops were present. Among the laity were the Prince and Princess of the Asturias, the Crown Prince of Denmark, the Princess of Piedmont, and the British Ambassador, Lord Perth.
THE CEREMONIES DESCRIBED
Though the three new saints belong to a past as distant as that of More and Fisher, two of them at least have an obvious contemporary interest equal to that of the English martyrs.
Salvatore da Horta was an unknown young man who joined the Franciscans in the sixteenth century. After his death in 1567 an extraordinary cult around his memory developed and many miracles were worked in his name.
His special interest now is that he lived and died in that Catalonia for which the Catholic forces of Spain are fighting. It was in Barcelona that he joined the Franciscans and he lived near Tortosa where the present battle is raging. No wonder the Holy Father in replying to General Franco's message referred to St. Salvatore as " a new hero of Christian fortitude," an expression which those who will can take to have a double application.
Massacred by Cossacks
Andrew Bobola worked as a Jesuit priest among the schismatic Ruthenians of eastern Poland on the borders of Russia where he was massacred in 1657 with forty other Jesuits during a Cossack invasion.
The similarity of his fate to that of so many who have suffered for the Faith in Soviet Russia is brought home by the fact that the Bolsheviks in 1922 desecrated his miraculously preserved body and took it to Moscow.
It was only through the efforts of Fr. Walsh, S.J., who directed the pontifical mission for the relief of the victims of famine that the precious relics were obtained from the Bolshevik Government and carried to Rome where they rest today in the Jesuit Mother Church of the Gesu.
John Leonardi was a young chemist's apprentice in Lucca, Italy, when he was called to the priesthood and devoted his life to the founding of a congregation for fuller parish work : the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. He died of an epidemic in Rome in 1609.
Portraits on Banners
Portraits of the three new saints were emblazoned on a magnificent banner that hung over the portals of the Vatican Basilica on Easter Sunday. They were carried too on banners during the great procession of the clergy of Rome into the Basilica before the ceremonies began.
The clergy were followed by the Noble Guard, officers and knights in uniform, prelates, bishops, cardinals, and finally the Pope himself carried on the Sedia Gestatoria. He looked exceedingly pale and very thin.
In the carefully ordered arrangement of people, one noted especially the Polish bishops who led a pilgrimage of more than 6,000 Poles, groups of Spaniards and young Italian girls, members of the Italian Catholic Action. Conspicuous too was the General of the Jesuits with his new Vicar General, the young Fr. Schurnians.
The first part of the ceremony was the cano isati011 when after the singing of the
Litanies and the Veni Creator the Pope, mitred, and seated on his chair as a Doctor of the Church answered the petitions for canonisation. Then the Te Deum was entoned and all the bells of Rome rang together to announce the good news. On this occasion they rang throughout the world for they were broadcast to many countries.
The Easter Day High Mass was sung by the Dean of the Sacred College, Cardinal Granito di Belmonte.
After the Mass the Holy Father was
again carried through the Basilica to the cheering of the congregation and taken to the Loggia whence after a few moments' rest he gave his blessing to the crowd which had been waiting there for hours in the warm Easter sun of Italy. The crowd kneels down : the formula of the plenary indulgence is recited : the Holy Father blesses.
After waiting a few moments to acknowledge with his hand the acclamations of the crowd the Pope retired and the canonisations were over.
Basilica Floodlit In the evening the Basilica and Piazza were brilliantly flood-lit to celebrate the glories of the Christian calendar of Saints which links the past with the present in the history of the Church which is ever new and ever old. More, Fisher, Salvatore da Horta, Andrew Bobola—they showed the way, three and four hundred years ago, along which the saints and faithful of today must tread in strangely similar times.