CNA REPORT: Pope Benedict officially recognized the heroic virtues of 20th century American priest Fr. Nelson Baker, which moves the beloved champion for the poor further along in the process towards sainthood.
On Jan. 14, Pope Benedict recognized the heroic virtues of Fr. Baker, which is the second step in the priest's cause for canonization. After a candidate is initially listed as a Servant of God, the promoter of the cause must prove that the candidate lived heroic virtues. When documents and testimonies are presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome, and the candidate is approved, he or she earns the title of "Venerable.” Two documented and medically authenticated miracles are then needed, one for beatification and one for canonization.
“Father Baker was known for his tremendous works of charity during his 60 years of priesthood,” Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York said on Jan. 14. Archbishop Dolan expressed delight in the Pope's action on his blog, “The Gospel in the Digital Age.”
The Diocese of Buffalo said on Friday that they “rejoice” at the news , adding that the latest move “is the next step in what we hope and pray will be the eventual beatification and canonization of Father Baker.”
After his upbringing in Buffalo in the late 19th century and a period of enlistment as a solider in the Civil War, Fr. Baker enjoyed economic success running a feed and grain business with his good friend Joe Meyer. He often spent much of his time and money, however, contributing to the local Catholic orphanage. Despite the apprehension of his father, brother and business partner – yet to the delight of his mother – he eventually discerned that he wanted to join the priesthood.
Though he was a good 10 years older than most of his fellow seminarians, Fr. Baker relished his experience in the seminary, earning top marks in his studies, organizing sports and drama events and being considered a leader by his peers, noted Sister Mary Monica of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in her biography of the priest. During his time at the seminary, things took a brief turn for the worse when a bought with erysipelas – a disease that could be cured with antibiotics today, but in the nineteenth century was often fatal – hospitalized him for 11 weeks and threatened to take his life.
He slowly recovered, and eventually went on a pilgrimage to Rome with his fellow seminarians in 1874, stopping at the Shrine of Our Lady of Victories in Paris. It was there he began an intense Marian devotion that would influence the rest of his life's work.
Fr. Baker was ordained a priest in 1876 and was assigned to be the superintendent of a group of Catholic institutions at Limestone Hill – an area now known as Lackawana – which were wracked with insurmountable debts. Using his business savvy, Fr. Nelson gave every penny of his savings to the institutions and hand wrote thousands of letters imploring Catholics to become members of the "Association of Our Lady of Victory" for a fee of 25 cents a year. Over the years, his tireless work helped the facilities flourish.
After decades of unyielding service to the community, Fr. Baker died in 1936 at the age of 95. He was named a Servant of God in 1987 by the late Pope John Paul II, and his legacy lives on in the current work of Our Lady of Victories Institutions, which annually serves more than 3,500 children and families in need.
Shijiazhuang (AsiaNews) - Hebei seminarians have welcomed the appointment of their new rector, a bishop, and the exclusion of politicians from the board of directors. In November-December last year, 100 seminarians went on strike and held demonstrations to demand the removal of Tang Zhaojun, a local politician, as vice-rector of the seminary (see: 02/12/2010 Hebei: seminarians against government official appointed as their seminary vice-rector).
The announcement of the launch of a new board of directors was made on January 13. The new rector is Msgr. Feng Xinmao, bishop of Hengshui. He is replacing the illegitimate bishop Ma Yinglin of Kunming, elected in early December at the head of the council of Chinese bishops, a body which the Holy See does not recognize because irreconcilable with the Catholic faith. Bishop Fang Jianping of Tangshan has been named as director and Father Sun Jigen of Handan as secretary general
The board of directors consists of bishops and delegates from every diocese in Hebei province. Bishop Fang Jianping replaces Mgr. Liu Jing Tangshan. Thanking him for his work in the past, Mgr. Fang said that the new leadership of the seminarywill carry on the mission of training Church successors.
A seminarian told AsiaNews that the board of directors said it wanted to know every class and listen to their opinions. "We hope - he added - that this will lead to a better development and better education."
According to the Catholic newspaper of Shijiazhuang, Faith Press, Mgr. Feng told the seminarians that he is eager to serve as a bridge between the seminary and the board of directors and will visit the institution on a regular basis to hear the voice of the students.Founded in 1984, Hebei seminary has to date educated 472 seminarians of whom 427 went on to become priests. At present there are 116 students in six classes and over 30 teachers between residents and temporary.
With this Act, the indigenous, many of whom are known as Pygmies, will be protected and enjoy the same rights as the Bantu, and will no longer be treated as inferior. “In the past the Africans from South Africa lived in slavery, like the blacks in the United States. The same occurred in the Congo to the indigenous. The new law will change everything. It will be a revolution for the rights of these peoples,” according to the director for human rights for the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. Sanctions have been provided for those who treat the indigenous people like slaves.
Treasurer Andrew Fraser says Queensland's response to the flood crisis has been "inspirational", with thousands of people giving up their weekend to help clean up in the aftermath of Thursday's flooding in Brisbane and Ipswich.
But small businesses shouldn't be forgotten, because the sooner they are up and running again, the sooner the economy can recover.
"If you've already helped your neighbours and friends, please have a think about offering your support to small business operators," Mr Fraser said.
Brisbane Ciry Council and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) have joined forces with the treasurer to ask volunteers to turn their attention to businesses.
"Many small businesses in the industrial suburbs and in the regions will be crying out for help during the cleaning up process," he said.
Brisbane City Council was so overwhelmed by volunteers at its rallying points at the weekend that it was forced to turn many away.
Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said as backbones of the community, businesses should not be forgotten.
"One of the major keys to recovering from this disaster is to get business going again so everyone please get in and help protect each other's jobs," he said.
The CCIQ hotline is 1300 548 044 and its website is www.cciq.com.au/floods .
St. Berard of Carbio
FRIAR MINOR AND MARTYR
Feast: January 16
|Isaiah 49: 3, 5 - 6|
|3||And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified."|
|5||And now the LORD says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength --|
|6||he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."|