Monday, August 29, 2016


We have some new prospects for American saints, all from the east coast and all having a love for underprivileged children. The first is VENERABLE NELSON HENRY BAKER who was born in Buffalo, New York on February 16, 1842 to Lewis Becker (later Baker) and Caroline Donnellan. His parents German and Irish came during a period when the rate of immigration was increasing from Europe. He was the second eldest of four sons. 

His father, a German Evangelical Lutheran, was a retired mariner who had opened a grocery and general goods store in Buffalo. He is said to have instilled an astute business sense in young Nelson,  who worked in the store after graduating from high school in 1858. Nelson's mother Caroline was a devout Irish Catholic, and the children were all baptized and reared as Catholic. Nelson was baptized a Roman Catholic in 1851, aged 9.
During the Civil War, Nelson enlisted at age 21 as a Union soldier in early July 1863 as part of the 74th regiment of the New York State Militia. His regiment, which saw duty along the Pennsylvania front at the Battle of Gettysburg, was used to help quell the New York City draft riots in 1863. Crowds of largely ethnic Irish rioted in protest of the draft; in their resentment they attacked African Americans, and their homes and businesses. Both groups competed in low-paying jobs.
After returning home from the war,Nelson started a successful feed and grain business with his friend, Joseph Meyer, another veteran. He demonstrated a strong interest in religious matters and joined the St. Vincent DePaul Society. He began taking Latin classes at St. Michael's residence in Buffalo, which would become Canisius College in 1870.

In the summer of 1869 Nelson took a steamer trip along the Lake Erie shoreline, using this time to sort out his life. By the time he returned to Buffalo, he had decided to enter the priesthood. His mother was delighted with the news; however, his father, brother, and former business partner Meyer were not sure.
Nelson Baker entered Our Lady of Angels Seminary in 1869. During his studies at the seminary, he was part of a group of 108 that went on a pilgrimage to Rome in 1874 to support the creation of the Papal States. On this pilgrimage, the group stopped in Paris, France and toured the Our Lady of Victories Sanctuary. Visiting the Marian shrine in France was the start of his lifelong devotion to Our Lady of Victory.
He was ordained in 1876 by Bishop Stephen V. Ryan at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Buffalo, New York. His first assignment was as an assistant to Father Thomas Hines at Limestone Hill, New York (now known as Lackawanna, New York). The parish there consisted of St. Patrick’s church, St. Joseph's Orphanage, and St. John's Protectory. A protectory is a Roman Catholic institution for the shelter and training of the young, designed to afford neglected or abandoned children shelter, food, raiment and the rudiments of an education in religion, morals, science and manual training or industrial pursuits. 
A few days after Father Baker returned to Limestone Hill, a group of creditors informed the priest that the three parish institutions had amassed a sizeable debt, and they demanded immediate payment. He assured them that they would be repaid, citing his past dealings as a businessman. Using his remaining personal savings, he repaid part of the debt and entered into verbal agreements to repay the balance.
During this time, Father Baker developed the concept of "The Association of Our Lady of Victory". He took the step of writing to postmasters in towns across the country and requesting the names and addresses of the Catholic women in their area. He wrote to these women, asking for their help in caring for the children at the orphanage and protectory. They could join the "Association of Our Lady of Victory" for a donation of 25 cents a year.
Basilica of Our Lady of Victory
Father Baker's approach to raising money worked, and the creditors were paid in full by June 1889. Father Baker also worked to ensure his parish did not go into debt again. In 1891, a natural gas well was discovered on the land of the Our Lady of Victory Homes, which helped to offset heating costs. Local traditional stories claim that the discovery of this gas well was a miracle.
By 1901, the number of boys at St. John’s Protectory tripled to 385, and in St. Joseph’s Orphanage, the total number of children doubled to 236. The city was attracting thousands of immigrants to work in new industries, and some were families in need.
Father Baker was named Vicar General of the Buffalo Diocese in 1904. Rome commended his religious leadership in 1923 by naming him Protonotary Apostolic ad instar Participantium, an honor accorded to only five other clergymen in the United States at that time.
He died in 1939 and is still honored in his home community as "Buffalo's most influential citizen of the 20th century".

At the time of his death he had developed a "city of charity" under the patronage of Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna, New York. It consisted of a minor basilica, an infant home, a home for unwed mothers, a boys' orphanage, a boys’ protectory, a hospital, a nurses' home, and a grade and high school.
Father Baker was honored by a major bridge on New York State Route 5 being named for him. He remains a favorite local figure in the Buffalo area because of his history of charity.

Friday, August 26, 2016


Roy de Maistre, 1957
Living the beatitudes as given to us by Christ Himself, two selfless religious were brutally killed yesterday in the poorest state in our country. A senseless killing, has given us two women who gave their life to Christ, and now can rejoice with Him in His Kingdom.  As long as you do it for one of these you do it for Me....
Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68 and nurse practitioners, were found dead Thursday morning in their home in Durant , Mississippi  after they did not show up for work at the Lexington Medical Clinic, where they cared for people who couldn't afford medical care.
Sister Margaret was a member of the School Sisters of St Francis in Milwaukee  and Sister Paula a Sister of Charity in Nazareth, KentuckySister Margaret had been with the order for 49 years and devoted herself to “living her ministry caring for and healing the poor.”
Sister Margaret
"These were the two sweetest sisters you could imagine. It's so senseless," Rev. Greg Plata, who oversees the small church the nuns attended, said.
Sister Paula moved to Mississippi from Massachusetts in 1981 and believed her calling was to stay in the Deep South, according to a 2010 article in The Journey, a publication of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
The two sisters had been sent by their orders to serve the poor throughout Mississippi. Sister Paula had spent 30 years in the state, the last six at the clinic, which saw 8,000 patients last year. The sisters were active in the church’s Bible study and were deeply connected to the congregation of about 30 parishioners.
“People were attracted to them because of their goodness,” said Father Plata, who will be among the clergy members to say their funeral Mass.
A cause of death has not been released, but Father Plata said police told him the sisters were viciously stabbed. The assistant police chief said the murders of the sisters were "the worst thing that can happen to us since (Hurricane) Katrina."
Sister Paula

Sleepy Holmes County, with a population of about 18,000, is in shock over the murders of the two sisters, who many have described as giving and selfless. "They were our family," said Jamie Sample, who  attended church with the sisters. "They were totally giving of themselves to others.” The sisters cared for those who no other healthcare providers would serve.

"My heart is broken for the two families and friends of these treasured souls," said Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. "We will not rest until we find the murderer and bring them to justice."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Raffi Yedalian- Sculptor
Considering the state that Turkey is in today I think this Blessed is a fitting patron.

BL. IGNATIUS MALOYAN the son of Melkon and Faridé, was born in 1869, in Mardin, TurkeyHis parish priest, noticed in him signs of a priestly vocation, so he sent him to the convent of Bzommar-Lebanon when he was fourteen years old.

After finishing his studies in 1896 he was ordained in the Church of Bzommar convent, becaming a member of the Bzommar Institute. He took the name of Ignatius in remembrance of the famous martyr of Antioch. During the years 1897-1910, Father Ignatius was appointed as parish priest in Alexandria and Cairo, where his holy reputation was wide-spread.

His Beatitude Patriarch Boghos Bedros XII appointed him as his assistant in 1904. Because of a disease that hit his eyes, and suffering difficulty in breathing, he returned to Egypt and stayed there till 1910.

The Diocese of Mardin was in a state of anarchy, so Patriarch Sabbaghian sent Father Ignatius Maloyan to restore order.

In 1911 he was elected Archbishop of Mardin. He took over his new assignment and planned on renewing the sad state of affairs of the diocese, encouraging the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Unfortunately, at the outbreak of the First World War, the Armenians resident in Turkey (which was allied with Germany) began to endure unspeakable sufferings. 1915 marked the beginning of a veritable campaign of extermination of the people. The Turkish soldiers surrounded the Armenian Catholic Bishopric and church in Mardin on the basis that they were hiding arms.

The Bishop gathered his priests and informed them of the dangerous situation. On June 3, 1915, Turkish soldiers dragged Bishop Maloyan in chains to court with twenty seven other Armenian Catholics. The next day, twenty five priests and eight hundred and sixty two believers were held in chains. During the trial, the chief of the police, Mamdooh Bek, asked the Bishop to convert to Islam. The bishop answered that he would never betray Christ and His Church.

Mamdooh Bek hit him on the head with the rear of his pistol with orders to put him in jail. The soldiers chained his feet and hands, threw him on the ground and hit him mercilessly. With each blow, the Bishop was heard saying "Oh Lord, have mercy on me, oh Lord, give me strength", and asked the priests present for absolution.

His mother visited him in jail and cried for his state. But the valiant Bishop encouraged her. On the next day, the soldiers gathered four hundred and forty seven Armenians.  The bishop encouraged his parishioners to remain firm in their faith. Then all knelt with him as he prayed to God that they accept martyrdom with patience and courage. The Bishop took out a piece of bread, blessed it, recited the words of the Eucharist and gave it to his priests to distribute among the people.

One of the soldiers, an eye witness, recounted this scene: "That hour, I saw a cloud covering the prisoners and from all emitted a perfumed scent. There was a look of joy and serenity on their faces". After a two-hour walk, hungry, naked and chained, the soldiers attacked the prisoners and killed them before the Bishop's eyes. After the massacre  Mamdooh Bek then asked Bishop Maloyan again to convert to Islam. The soldier of Christ answered: "I've told you I shall live and die for the sake of my faith and religion. I take pride in the Cross of my God and Lord". Mamdooh was furious. He drew his pistol and shot Bishop Maloyan. Before he breathed his last breath he cried out loud: "My God, have mercy on me; into your hands I commend my spirit".
I love the sculpture of RAFFI  YEDALIAN  (top of page), who born in Beirut in 1973. His works express emotion, inspired by his experience, environment and recollections. 

In 2015, he presented his painting of Bl. Ignatius  to Pope Francis, in St. Peter's Basilica. This painting was then reproduced and issued as one of the Vatican's postage stamps. 

The artist’s works are on view in permanent collections including in the Vatican.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Several years ago, when doing some studies on Benedictine saints and birds, I came across a lovely painting of St. Meinrad though I could not find the artist's name.  I have found him and here present some of his work.

Life of St. Meinrad

BROTHER MARTIN ERSPAMER, O.S.B.,  (B. 1953) is a Benedictine monk of St. Menirad Archabbey in southern Indiana. He attended a Marianist High School and became influenced by the work of the Marianist artists, joining their community in 1971. He worked several years in their missions in India.  He received an MFA from Boston University in 1986 and began his career as a liturgical artist working in painting, illustration, ceramics, stained glass, furniture and worship space design. 

In 2004 Brother Martin became a monk himself, moving to St. Meinrad Archabbey. He has creatively renovated over fifty churches and his stained glass designs have transformed many worship spaces. Brother Martin's religious illustrations are well known and his art has been used on covers for many missals. His art celebrates the Benedictine motto - "that in all things may God be glorified."

He also loves cooking and music. “The longer I stay in religious life, the more there is to learn and internalize. The monastery is a good place to learn. It is a school for conversion of heart and for charity. This is where I belong.”

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Why do I present these martyrs from far off places?  To show the goodness and mercy of our fellow humans, who seek for peace for us all, and who die for the effort.  As long as fanatics roam amidst us, there will be martyrs for the cause of justice, freedom and peace. Bishop Barron recently said that we have had more martyrs for the faith in the last century than in all the centuries since Christ combined! Staggering!

FATHER PAOLO DALL’OGLIO  another Jesuit martyred in the Middle East was an Italian  born in 1954. He was exiled from Syria by the government of Bashar al-Assad in 2012 for meeting with members of the opposition and criticizing the actions of the al-Assad regime during the Syrian civil war. He was kidnapped by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on 29 July 2013.
In 1984, Father Dall'Oglio was ordained priest in the Syriac Catholic rite. In the same year, he obtained a degree in Arabic language and Islamic studies from Naples Eastern University "L'Orientale" and in Catholic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1989, he obtained a PhD degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the topic "About Hope in Islam".
In 1992, he established the mixed monastic and ecumenical Community al-Khalil ("the Friend of God" - Biblical and Qu'ranic byname of the patriarch Abraham in Arabic language), dedicated to Muslim-Christian dialogue and located in the refurbished Deir Mar Musa.
In 2009, Father Dall'Oglio obtained the double honorary doctorate of the Université catholique de Louvain and the KU Leuven.  He contributed regularly to the magazine "Popoli", the international magazine of the Italian Jesuits, established in 1915.

In 2011, Father Paolo Dall'Oglio wrote an article pleading for a peaceful democratic transition in Syria, based on what he called "consensual democracy". He also met with opposition activists and participated in the funeral service for the 28-year-old Christian filmmaker Bassel Shehadeh, who had been murdered in Homs.
The Syrian government reacted sharply and issued an expulsion order. Paolo Dall'Oglio ignored the order for a couple of months and continued living in Syria. However, following the publication of an open letter to UN special envoy Kofi Annan in May 2012, he obeyed his bishop who urged him to leave the country. He left Syria on 12 June 2012 and joined in exile the newly established Deir Maryam al-Adhra of his community in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.
In December 2012, Paolo Dall'Oglio was awarded the Peace Prize of the Italian region of Lombardy that is dedicated to persons having done extraordinary work in the field of peace building.

In late July 2013 Paolo Dall'Oglio entered rebel held territory in eastern Syria but was soon kidnapped by the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, while walking in Raqqa on 29 July.[ Opposition sources from Raqqa said that Paolo Dall'Oglio has been executed by the extremist group and his body thrown into a ground hole in the city of Ar-Raqqa, called “Al-Houta”. Dead Assad loyalist soldiers would have often been thrown into the same hole. The claims are not yet confirmed.

Before his kidnapping, he had served for three decades at the Deir Mar Musa, a 6th-century monastery 50 miles north of Damascus. He has been credited with the reconstruction of the Mar Musa complex and its reinvention as a center of interfaith dialogue. 

Monday, August 15, 2016


Continuing our theme of the Jesuits, I recently read that since the 1970s there have been over 30 Jesuit Martyrs from all over the world.  The most recent is FATHER FRANS van der LUGT S.J.,  who began his ministry in Syria in 1966.
Father Van der Lugt was born into a banker's family and grew up in Amsterdam. His father was Godefridus Wilhelmus Antonius van der Lugt, president of the Nederlandsche Landbouwbank. His brother Godfried van der Lugt became a top executive with the Postbankand. Father studied as a psychotherapist but left the Netherlands for the Middle East in the 1960s, where he joined the Jesuits and spent two years in Lebanon, studying Arabic. In 1966 he went to Syria, where he lived for nearly fifty years.
Father van der Lugt started a community center and farm in 1980, the Al-Ard Center, just outside the city of Homs. The farm had vineyards and gardens in which much of the work was done by people with disabilities, providing an unprecedented resource in a society in which such people are usually hidden from view. In reconciling people from different religious backgrounds, he emphasized the humanity of people as the common ground, rather than stressing commonality in the theologies of different faiths. He saw connection with the earth as part of a common bond. To this end, he conducted annual eight-day treks across the mountains for teenagers of all faiths.
After the siege of Homs, Father van der Lugt cared for the sick and the hungry. He gained international exposure at the beginning of 2014 when he made a number of YouTube videos, asking the international community for help for the citizens of the besieged city. He refused to leave, despite the dangerous situation. In February, The Economist reported that he was probably the last European in the city and stayed because he was "the shepherd of his flock": He declined being evacuated during a UN operation in 2014 that saved 1400 people from the besieged city.
Father van der Lugt was known for helping Christians and Muslims alike; the Al-Ard Center aimed to foster dialog between people of different faiths.  During his ministry he was a voice of faith and love in the face of injustice. He offered shelter in his monastery to Muslims and Christians left homeless by the war, which began in March 2011. He was trapped with many other Syrians by the government’s siege on Homs. Despite the obvious risk, Father Van der Lugt stayed in Syria to support the civilians in his ministry. On the morning of April 7, 2014, he was abducted from his home beaten and shot by unidentified men.

The February before his death he exemplified his love for his ministry in a comment to AFP, “The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties,”

In an appeal to end violence in Homs and the rest of Syria, Pope Francis remembered Father van der Lugt:
He always did good to all, with gratitude and love, and therefore he was loved and respected by Christians and Muslims. His brutal murder has filled me with deep pain and it made me think of a lot of people still suffering and dying in that tormented country, my beloved Syria, already too long in the throes of a bloody conflict, which continues to reap death and destruction. I also think of the many people abducted, both Christians and Muslims, in Syria and in other countries as well, among which are bishops and priests. 

Friday, August 12, 2016


BLESSED PAVEL PETER GOJDIC was a Rusyn-Slovak Basilian monk and the bishop of the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Prešov. He was martyred by the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001 and recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2007.
Pavel Gojdic (pronunciation Goydich) was born In 1888 at Ruske Peklany near Presov, the third child of the Byzantine Catholic priest Stefan Gojdic and his wife Anna Gerberyova. He received the name of Peter in baptism.
Peter began his study of theology at Presov and continued them a year later at the major seminary in Budapest. He and his brother Cornelius were ordained on August 27, 1911, after which Father Peter worked for a brief period as assistant parish priest with his father.
In the fall of 1912, after a short period of pastoral work, he was appointed prefect of the Eparchial Boarding School for boys in Presov, known as "The Alumneum." At the same time he became an instructor of religion in the city's higher secondary schools. He was also entrusted with the spiritual care of the faithful in Sabinov as assistant parish priest. Father Peter was appointed to the Bishop's Chancery Office, where eventually he achieved the rank of Chancellor. A career as a diocesan administrator did not attract him, so he decided to become a Basilian monk. On July 20, 1922 he entered St. Nicholas Monastery on Chernecha Hora, near Mukachevo, where taking the habit on January 27, 1923 he took the name Pavel (Paul).

Appointed Director of the Apostleship of Prayer, he became instrumental in spreading the practice of frequent confession and Holy Communion throughout the Eparchy of Mukachevo. He usually spent long hours, mostly at night, in the chapel before the tabernacle. In 1927 he was appointed titular Bishop of Harpasa and was consecrated on 25 March in the Roman Basilica of San Clemente.
After his episcopal ordination he visited the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, where he prayed on the tomb of the Apostle. On March 29, 1927, together with Bishop Njaradi, he was received in a private audience by Pope Pius XI. The pope gave Bishop Pavol a gold pectoral cross, saying: "This cross is only a symbol of all those heavy crosses that you will have to carry during your episcopal ministry.“
Bishop Pavel had been named Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of Presov on September 14, 1926. His first official act of office was to address a pastoral letter on the occasion of the 1100th anniversary of the birth of St. Cyril, apostle of the Slavs. Bishop Pavel was proud of his Slavic heritage and was very fond of his oriental rite.
In 1940 the Pope appointed him Bishop of Presov, and for the year 1939 Apostolic Administrator of Mukacheve.
During the period before World War II, he decided to defend the Ruthenians (Belarusians, Russians, Ukrainians and Rusyns).
During the war the bishop helped refugees and prisoners, and rescued the inmates of concentration camps. On October 26, 1942, Slovak security services informed the Ministry of the Interior of a high number of fictitious conversions taking place. The report pointed out several cases where only one member of a Jewish family converted to Christianity in order to protect all the other members. Out of 249 Jewish families, 533 Jews had converted to the Greek Catholic or Russian Orthodox faith in order to rescue some 1500 other members of their families, who had not converted; moreover, most of those who had converted continued to actively practice Judaism either in the open or undercover. 

 After the end of hostilities, those who had been saved by Bishop Pavel foresaw that his wartime actions would not be well received by the new Communist government and offered to help him emigrate to the West. However, he refused to leave his post as bishop. Foreseeing the Communist takeover, with the help of a new auxiliary, Bishop Hopko (see previous Blog), he launched a campaign to reinforce the faith of his people by mobilizing every possible means: visits, missions, retreats, the press and the radio. Bishop Gojdič resisted any initiative to submit the Greek Catholics to Russian Orthodoxy, assisted by the Communist Party, while he knew he was risking persecution, arrest and maybe even death. Even though he was put under severe pressure to renounce the Catholic faith and break unity with the Pope, he refused every offer. Gradually he was isolated from the clergy and the faithful.

On 28 April 1950, the Communist state outlawed the Greek Catholic Church and Bishop Pavel was arrested and interned. Jewish witnesses wrote a letter in his defense to the then-Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia Antonín Zápotocký, but to no avail. In January 1951, in a trial set up against three 'high treason' bishops (Vojtaššák, Buzalka, and Gojdič) he was given a life sentence. Transferred from one prison to another, he remained faithful, praying and saying Mass in secret, despite facing torture. Following an amnesty in 1953, given by Zapotocký, his life sentence was changed to 25 years detention. He was then 66 and his health continued to deteriorate, yet all further requests for amnesty were refused.
At the prison of Ruzyň an official informed him that from there he could go straight to Prešov, on condition that he was willing to become patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia. He rejected the offer as an infidelity to the Pope and the faithful, and remained in prison.

He died of terminal cancer in the prison hospital of Leopoldov Prison in 1960, on his 72nd birthday. He was buried in an anonymous grave, n. 681, in the cemetery.
Blessed Pavel once said:: "For me, it is not important if I die in the Bishop's Palace or in prison; what matters is entering into Paradise". 


Saturday, August 6, 2016


Today I had an email from one of our friends in the Czech Republic (with photo) that he was just married in Pilsen, so thought it appropriate to do a Blog on this new Blessed of the Church. I visited the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1998 and still think fondly of the beauty of the countries and the people.

BL. BASIL HOPKO was born in the Rusyn village of Hrabské, in the Sáros County of the Kingdom of Hungary (present-day eastern Slovakia). His parents, Basil and Anna, were landless peasants. While Basil was still an infant, his father was struck by lightning and died. His mother left him in care of her father, while she emigrated to the United States in search of work. When Basil was 7 he was sent to live with his uncle Demeter Petrenko, a Greek Catholic priest.
He attended the Evangelical gymnasium in Prešov, then Czechoslovakia, graduating with honors in 1923. He then studied at the Eparchial Seminary in Prešov. He had dreams of joining his mother in America, and of pursuing his priestly vocation there, but the cost of recurring health problems left him unable to afford to travel. He later wrote that when he finally decided to stay and to serve in his homeland, he was suddenly cured, and realized he had been given a sign about his calling. He was ordained a Greek Catholic priest on 3 February 1929.
He served as a pastor till 1936 at the Greek Catholic parish in Prague, the Czechoslovak capital, where he was known for his focus on the poor, the unemployed, and students. His mother returned from America after 22 years and rejoined her son in Prague, becoming his housekeeper at the parish rectory.

In 1936 he returned to teach in Prešov's Eparchial Seminary, and was awarded the title of monsignor. He had already begun graduate studies at Charles University while in Prague, and completed his Doctor of Theology in 1940 at Comenius University in Bratislava. In Prešov he headed the eparchy's publishing division, where he edited a monthly periodical.
After World War II, a growing Soviet Bolshevik influence caused Bishop Pavol Peter Gojdič of Prešov  (our next Blog) to ask the Vatican for an Auxiliary Bishop to help defend the Greek Catholic Church. Bl. Basil was appointed to the post in 1947. The Communist take-over of Czechoslovakia wreaked havoc on the Greek Catholic Church. In 1950 it was officially abolished, and its assets were turned over to the Russian Orthodox Church. Bishop Gojdič was arrested and imprisoned for life. Bl. Basil was arrested on 28 April 1950 and kept on starvation rations and tortured for weeks. Eventually he was tried and sentenced to 15 years for the "subversive activity" of staying loyal to Rome. He was repeatedly transferred from prison to prison. His health, physical and emotional, failed, and in 1964 he was transferred to an old age home. He never recovered his health.
During the Prague Spring the Czechoslovak government legally cleared Bl. Basil on 13 June 1968 and the Prešov Eparchy was restored. However, activists insisted that a Slovak bishop be appointed to the See, and the Vatican named the Slovak priest Ján Hirka as Bl. Basil’s successor.

Bl. Basil died in Prešov at age 72 on 23 July 1976. On 14 September 2003 Pope John Paul II beatified him at a ceremony in Bratislava, Slovakia. His steadfast loyalty to the Holy See, his great love of the people, and his dedicated pastoral work as Bishop, has earned him a place in the hearts of his people.