MY COUSIN THE SAINT
A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

US Catholics celebrate, debate the legacy of Pope John Paul II

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Tom Breen, a reporter with the Associated Press, does a great job with this national story on the upcoming beatification of Pope John Paul II. I was lucky enough to be one of his sources.

ExcerptJohn Paul II was himself an enthusiastic promoter of sainthood and beatification. He streamlined the process to make canonization move faster, celebrated canonizations all over the world and named more saints than all the popes in the previous 400 years combined.

“He understood that there’s nothing like a canonization to fire up the faithful,“ said Justin Catanoso, a North Carolina journalist and author of “My Cousin the Saint,“ about his relative Gaetano Catanoso, who was beatified and named a saint by John Paul II. “It’s just a gorgeous ritual.“

April 4, 1963

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Today is Easter, of course. It is also the anniversary of the death of Padre Gaetano Catanoso. He was 84 on this day in 1963, when he died in his own bed in Santo Spirito in Reggio Calabria. Some hours before his death, Monsignor Sorrentino of Reggio visited his mentor and spoke with him about Saint Francis of Paola, the last saint named from Calabria (in the early 1500s). The mother general of Padre Gaetano’s order of nuns mentioned to the monsignor that Calabria was in needs of new saints. Thus, the idea was lodged. Sorrentino launched the cause for canonization in 1980 under Pope John Paul II. The canonization, led by Pope Benedict XVI, took place Oct. 23, 2005.

Pope gets knocked down in St. Peter’s

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A woman jumped the barriers in St. Peter’s Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict XVI as he walked down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass on Thursday, a Vatican spokesman said.

Story here.

Vatican Defends Move to Sainthood for Wartime Pope

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The NY Times reports today:

“ROME — In an effort to calm growing tensions with Jewish groups, the Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Benedict XVI had not moved the wartime Pope Pius XII closer to sainthood as an “act of hostility” against those who believe Pius did not do enough to stop the Holocaust.”

…This pope seems to have a difficult time avoiding controversy, from provoking Muslims to giving Holocaust-deniers a free pass to advancing the canonization cause of one of the most controversial popes of modern times. One has a right to ask: Why?

Research for my book revealed that Pius XII was not nearly the monster his critics accused him of being, nor was he the Nazi sympathizer he was charged with being either. The historical record seems to argue that Pius took great risks to hide and protect Jews in Italy during WWII in Vatican-owned property. That’s all good. But what, we must ask, is the purpose of canonization? Is it to simply honor the church’s best-known figures? Or is it to honor those who truly lived lives of heroic virtue, and whose lives can be an  inspiration to the faithful — role models for emulation? If Pius can truly pass the test of the latter, he deserves his shot at Catholic recognition. If, on the weight of the evidence, he cannot, than this cause should die and be done with.

But for a German pope to push this cause forward, it seems another case of the Vatican’s blindness to perceptions.

Closer to sainthood

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

giansanti of JPII
NYT reports here:

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI moved two of his predecessors a step closer to sainthood on Saturday, confirming the “heroic virtues” of John Paul II and, in a surprise move, those of Pius XII, the pope during World War II.

N&O story, revisited

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Raleigh News & Observer reporter Yonat Shimron wrote this story shortly after My Cousin the Saint was released in May 2008. She is a teriffic reporter and writer.

New York Times coverage

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

My Google alert for “Gaetano Catanoso” pushed me this morning a story from history — a New York Times feature about the beatification of a gypsy in 1997 by Pope John Paul II in Rome. Just so happens, my cousin was beatified in the same ceremony. Of course, at the time, I knew nothing about this cousin, and no had idea he was on a path toward sainthood. Must’ve missed this story in the Times, too…

Delay for JPII?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

giansanti of JPII
The blog Clerical Whispers reports: “The beatification of Pope John Paul II may be delayed as the Vatican seeks more documentation regarding his almost 27 years as pope, Italian newspapers reported in late May.”

It’s hot

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

News reports out of Rome say: “Italy is bracing for a sizzling weekend and health alerts have been issued for 19 cities due to the unusually high heat and humidity. The country currently finds itself at the center of a high pressure system which is ushering hot and sand-filled air from the Sahara.”

Among the cities suffering the most: level 2 alerts for Catania, Messina, Reggio Calabria and Venice – while the highest ‘level 3′ alert has been issued for Florence, Latina, Perugia and Rome.

When I was in Reggio three summers ago during June, it didn’t rain once and the temperature routinely topped 100 degrees.

Newly named saints

Friday, May 1st, 2009

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI named five new saints April 26, including Portugal‘s 14th century independence leader and a priest who ministered to factory workers at the dawn of the industrial era. Speaking in a packed St. Peter’s Square, Benedict praised each of the five as a model for the faithful, saying their lives and works were as relevant today as when they were alive. Full story here.