By: Corinne Monogue
The day has finally come. Blessed Kateri, who has been such a witness for so many of us, is being recognized as a saint this weekend! When this was posted on the diocesan Facebook page, several people expressed their excitement that more young women would have the opportunity to adopt soon-to-be Saint Kateri as their Confirmation saint.
Blessed Kateri appeals to Native Americans, who have been here in our country from its beginning. Because she is the first Native American saint, she highlights for us our culture and our history. She held true to her Native American heritage AND her Catholic faith (read more about her life here). What a model for us – you can identify as more than one thing in the living Body of Christ. You can be Native American and you can be Catholic. You can be black and you can be Catholic. You can be Chinese and you can be Catholic.
This Sunday’s canonizations – not only of Blessed Kateri, but also of Blessed Pedro and Blessed Marianne Cope – are deeply meaningful to the various multicultural communities in our diocese, for many of the same reasons that Blessed Kateri’s canonization touches so many. Please consider coming to Mass this Sunday at 2:30 pm at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington to celebrate the canonizations (it is also World Missions Sunday) and then to attend the Multicultural Catholic exhibit fair that follows.
The Filipino Catholics in our diocese are ecstatic about the canonization of Blessed Pedro, a young Filipino martyr. Pedro, the second Filipino to be canonized, was killed while bringing the Gospel and teaching the catechism in Guam. His witness is crucial for young Filipinos, who can see through Pedro’s life that one is never too young to recognize and embrace the Catholic faith. (Read more about Pedro’s life here).
Blessed Marianne Cope, also to be canonized on Sunday, was a Dominican Sister who persevered in serving those with leprosy in the Pacific Islands. Even today, the scars of that horrible disease can be seen in their society. Her elevation to sainthood has real significance for the culture of the Pacific Islands. More than just national patriotism, this means something to the Pacific Islanders as a whole. She is a great example of strength and generosity – tradition among the Islanders holds that even when others left them, Sr. Marianne would not abandon the afflicted (read more about her life here).
One of the wonderful things about these canonizations is that these men and women already had great significance in the countries in which they served, as well as for specific cultural groups here in our diocese. On Sunday, when they are canonized, however, they also will be recognized as saints for the universal Church – for Native Americans, Filipinos and Pacific Islanders, but also for each one of us in the Body of Christ.
Blessed Kateri, Blessed Pedro, Blessed Marianne – Pray for Us!