Saints and Souls

On Wednesday, an informal liturgy group of which I am a part celebrated both All Saints Day and All Souls Day in the same service. It seemed appropriate. A lot of ordinary "souls" are really saints, even if not formally recognized as such.

When homily time arrived, we had a discussion of saints, souls and canonization. We named several contemporary saints, most not formally recognized by any Vatican process: John XXIII; Oscar Romero; Mary Luke Tobin, SL; Marjorie Tuite, OP; Bill Callahan; and others. We even noted that St. Francis of Assisi might have found resonance with one member of our group who was gently petting a cat that had jumped on his lap, knowing that he was a friend of animals. (We have a very informal liturgy group.)

Then, one nun in our group mentioned that her foundress was surely a saint, but that canonization costs money, so her order was not initiating the process. Others noted that canonization is often influenced by the Vatican politics of the day. Why, for example, is John Paul II on a "fast track" but John XXIII apparently on a "slow track"? Why does it seem that Archbishop Oscar Romero is on "no track"?

Yet we realized that there are many people who deserve at least informal "lay canonization." The laity -- through Call to Action maybe -- might want to find a way to name saints that the Vatican doesn't recognize either because there are so many to name, or because the formal process is expensive, or because of simple politics.

I suggest it be a list with several blank spaces at the end. We can all think of great saints in our lives!


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