From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Sunday, December 24, 2023 – Fourth Sunday of Advent - Cycle B Readings: 2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16, Psalm 89 “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”, Romans 16: 25-27, Luke 1: 26-38
The Cause for Beatification
History of the Beatification Effort
Only now is the extraordinary story of the Florida martyrs fully emerging. From an early date poets, artisans, chroniclers, religious superiors, a duke, a king, governors, and bishops had commemorated the saintly deaths of the Florida martyrs, and some had even anticipated their canonization. Yet despite these precious testimonies and the occasional prodding by a small number of historians to recognize this proud part of our American tradition, the story of the Florida martyrs lay largely dormant for centuries. Not until the 1930s and the efforts of John Mark Gannon, Bishop of Erie, was a formal effort undertaken for their canonization. This effort has slowly matured into the present cause. In 1939 John Wynne, S.J., who had been Vice-Postulator for the cause of the North American martyrs and was now Postulator for Kateri Tekakwitha, sent Bishop Gannon a letter that contained a list of 106 “bold martyrs on the soil of our country” (Wynne to Gannon, 6/24/1939).
Bishop Gannon was surprised: “I never knew there were so many American martyrs until I received your enclosure. Why something has not been done in this matter before, is a mystery to me . . . I am fascinated with it all and will be glad to co-operate with you in any way I can” (Gannon to Wynne, 6/26/1939). Gannon in fact eagerly took the lead in this task, which he would ardently champion until his death in 1968. Having received the support of the American hierarchy at their annual meeting in November 1939, Bishop Gannon assembled a team of preeminent ecclesiastical historians, which included representatives from the Jesuits (Fr. John Wynne of Fordham University, and Fr. Michael Kenny of Spring Hill College), Dominicans (Victor O’Daniel, the noted historian of the Dominican order, and then Fr. Reginald Coffey, the archivist of the Dominican House of Studies), Fran-ciscans (Fr. Marion Habig of Quincy College, and Fr. Roland Burke of Warwick, New York, who was the Vice-Postulator of the cause of Mother Schervier, the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis), and the secular clergy (Fr. Peter Guilday of The Catholic University of America). The secretary was Fr. (later Msgr.) James M. Powers of the Diocese of Erie. Members of the committee convened twice in early 1941 at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, where they assigned responsibilities and began to prepare a submission to Rome. The work was facilitated by an earlier “American martyrology” assembled by Fr. Habig, which would be the core of the sub-mission. By the fall of 1941 the completed report had been signed by Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty of Philadelphia. In November of that year, the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, sent to Rome three handsome red volumes for Cardinal Carlo Salotti, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, and three ivory bound volumes to be delivered to the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII. But more than three years would elapse before Bishop Gannon learned of the status of this submission. The Sacred Congregation of Rites had indeed re-ceived the report, and Monsignor Carinci, the Secretary, had issued a reply on August 8, 1943, but this reply never reached Bishop Gannon or, so far as we know, anyone else in the United States (Powers to Habig, 5/1/1945).
We will continue next week with The Cause for Beatification Source: Martyrs - Martyrs of La Florida Missions - Tallahassee,