Blessed Joseph Vaz becomes Sainthood and Sri Lanka gets first Saint
Sri Lanka will get its first Catholic saint when Pope Francis visits the Country in January, 2015. The process for the canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz, an Indian missionary considered the Apostle of the Sri Lanka Church, has reached the final stage and the church in Goa is expecting that the long-awaited announcement of his sainthood may come within a few months.
Addressing a media briefing at the Colombo Archbishop’s House, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo told journalists the Canonization process of Blessed Joseph Vaz was in its final stages. Approval from the College of Cardinals would see Blessed Joseph Vaz, who served in north and central parts of Sri Lanka primarily, being elevated to Sainthood, the prelate added.
"We know that the process of his canonization has reached its final stage, though not fully complete and we expect a decision to be taken shortly," Fr Eremita Rebello, Vice-postulator for the cause for the canonization of Blessed Vaz, told. Three Eucharistic services and prayers were held at the Sanctuary of Blessed Joseph Vaz on Friday to pray for Vaz's canonization. A total of 13 priests and more than 1,000 people earnestly prayed in Sancoale, said Rebello. The Congregation for the canonization of saints in the Vatican is likely to meet shortly and decide on the issue. The first statement about the canonization of Vaz can be issued only by the Vatican, Rebello said.
Blessed Joseph Vaz
He born on April 21, 1651 at Benaulim, in South Goa district in the state of Goa, India, was an Oratorian priest and missionary from Goa. He entered Ceylon, now Sri Lanka during the Dutch occupation, when Calvinism was the official religion. He travelled throughout the island bringing the Eucharist and the sacraments to clandestine groups of Catholics. Later in his mission, he found shelter in the Kingdom of Kandy where he was able to work freely. He died on January 16, 1711 at Kandy in Sri Lanka. By the time of his death, Vaz had managed to rebuild the Catholic Church on the island. As a result of his labors, he is known as the Apostle of Ceylon. On January 21, 1995, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Colombo.
A miracle attributed to Blessed Joseph Vaz had been studied and now awaits the approval from the College of Cardinals upon which Blessed Joseph Vaz will be elevated as a Saint. Cardinal Ranjith sounded positive that the canonization would take place during the Papal visit. The miracle attributed to Blessed Joseph Vaz has to do with a couple who are both doctors. The mother conceived twins.
However, she was strongly advised by doctors to abort one child who was weak. However, the lady doctor chose to disregard medical advice and prayed to Blessed Joseph Vaz. Eventually, she gave birth to twins and both children are healthy, according to Cardinal Malcolm. Two panels of Vatican doctors had examined the case and the process saw Devil’s Advocate arguing against the case as well, the Cardinal said.
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