Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Los Angeles Cathedral mural

The Catholic Church teaches that it does not, in fact, make or create saints. Rather, it recognizes them. A SAINT  is one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness and virtue.  In Orthodox and Catholic teachings, all Christians in heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered to be worthy of higher honor, emulation, or veneration, with official church recognition given to some saints through canonization.

One Roman Catholic website states that there are over 10,000 named saints and beatified people from history, the Roman Martyrology and Orthodox sources, but no really definitive head count.

Elise Ritter

There are many people believed to be in Heaven who have not been formally declared as saints (most typically due to their obscurity and the involved process of formal canonization) but who may nevertheless generically be referred to as saints. All in Heaven are, in the technical sense, saints, since they are believed to be completely perfect in holiness.
Medieval Tapestry

In his book, Saint of the Day, editor Leonard Foley, OFM, says this of saints: "Saint's surrender to God's love was so generous an approach to the total surrender of Jesus that the Church recognizes them as heroes and heroines worthy to be held up for our inspiration. They remind us that the Church is holy, can never stop being holy and is called to show the holiness of God by living the life of Christ."

In his book, on Making Saints, author Kenneth L. Woodward notes the following:
       A saint is always someone through whom we catch a glimpse of what God is like-and of what we are called to be. Only God "makes" saints, of course. The church merely identifies from time to time a few of these for emulation. The church then tells the story. But the author is the Source of the grace by which saints live. And there we have it: A saint is someone whose story God tells.

The veneration of saints describes a particular popular devotion to a particular saint or saints. Although the term "worship" is sometimes used, it is intended in the old-sense meaning to honor or give respect . According to the Catholic Church, Divine Worship is properly reserved only for God  and never to the saints. They can be asked to intercede for us or  pray for those still on earth, just as one can ask someone on earth to pray for them.

A saint may be designated as a patron saint of a particular cause or profession, or invoked against specific illnesses or disasters, sometimes by popular custom and sometimes by official statements of the Magisterium. Saints are not thought to have power of their own, but only that granted by God. Relics of saints are respected in a similar manner to holy images and icons. The practices of past centuries in venerating relics of saints for healing is taken from the early Church.


Tomorrow we celebrate All Saints' Day (also called All Hallows or Hallowmas- thus we get Halloween or the eve of All Hallows)). This day commemorates ALL those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In the Catholic Church and many Anglican churches, the next day specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Christians who celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day do so in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in purgatory (the 'Church Suffering'), those in heaven (the 'Church Triumphant'), and the living (the 'Church Militant').
Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS

Solemnly  celebrated on the first of November this feast  is instituted to honor all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Pope Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful's celebration of saints' feasts during the year.

In the early days the Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr's death for Christ at the place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighboring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast. At first only martyrs and St. John the Baptist were honored by a special day. Other saints were added gradually, and increased in number when a regular process of canonization was established. Pope Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary for 1 November.

All Saints- Wassily Kandinsky- 1911

Why does the Church celebrate this Feast of the Saints?
  To honor God in His saints, through whom He has shown Himself so wonderfully,
  To thank God, as the author of all holiness, for the benefits He has bestowed upon these saints.
  To inspire us in remembrance of the communion of saints' holiness, encouraging us on our journey
  To encourage us to strive for the like sanctity with them, and to teach us that it is by no means impossible;
  To honor  those saints to whom no particular day in the year is dedicated.
  To allow us a share in their merits, and grant us the grace of one day sharing in their joy in the hope that we too may one day be called "SAINT".

2nd vol.
my favorite for modern saints

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