Thursday, May 17, 2007

"Thirsty for the salvation of all"

Dear Brothers,
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May the joy of Easter always support you on your journey!
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The press has already spread the news of what I am about to communicate to you officially: Our Order will soon have two new Saints.
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During his upcoming Apostolic Visit to Brazil, on the 11th May 2007 to be precise, the Holy Father Benedict XVI will canonise Blessed Antonio of Sant’Anna Calvão de Franca, born in Guaratinguetá, Brazil, in 1739, and died in São Paulo on the 23rd December 1822. Beatified in 1998 by John Paul II, he is the first ever Saint of the Church in Brazil.
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On the following 3rd of June, in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, the Pope will canonise Blessed Simone of Lipnica, born in Lipnica Murowana, Poland, in 1439 and died in Krakow on the 18th July 1482. His cult was confirmed by Blessed Innocent XI on the 24th February 1685.
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I, with the help of God, will be present at both canonisations to express our thanks to the Holy Father on behalf of the entire Order of Friars Minor which rejoices at the ecclesiastical glorification of these two singular Friars who lived in times very distant from ours, but are very current in the Spirit who led them in their exemplary activity in the service of the poor and of the Gospel.
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I willingly read into this dual event, which pleases the Provinces of the Immaculate Conception of São Paulo and of Krakow in particular, almost an ideal start to the celebrations of the VIII Centenary of the foundation of the Order, at the origins of which there was, above all, a yearning for sanctity, totally fulfilled by many of our Friars, beginning with Francis.
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The two new Saints, the former defined as “a man of peace and charity” and the latter as “thirsty for the salvation of all”, are inserted into the journey of our Seraphic Family as present-day models of a sanctity based on love for the weaker and forgotten people and capable, because of their love of truth and freedom, of taking on the sufferings of those who undergo injustice or violence.
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Looking on these two authentic witnesses to the Gospel of charity, we entrust to their intercession the realisation of the life project which each one carries defined in his heart, confidently asking these exemplary Friars to guide us with “clarity and audacity” along the path of total fidelity to the grace of our origins through a presence in the Church and in the world which is a gift of hope and light for all.
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On greeting you affectionately, I invoke the blessing of the Lord and that of our father Francis of Assisi on you all.
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Rome, 25th April 2007
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Br. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM
General Minister

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