Sunday 4 December 2016

Worthy honour for a holy man who was a 'maker of saints'

Bishop Brendan Leahy

Published 26/04/2014 | 02:30

WE can only imagine that there must have been quite a celebration when John Paul reached the gates of heaven.

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After all, it has often been said of him that he was a 'maker of saints'. In his almost 27 years as Pope he canonised 482 saints – that's more than the church did in the 400 years since Pope Sixtus V provided the official criterion for the recognition of sanctity in 1588. If we add in the number of witnesses to holiness that he beatified, the number rises to 1,338. And now he is to be numbered among the saints.

The Second Vatican Council was a fanfare for the universal call to holiness which it defined as 'the perfection of love.' It wanted us to appreciate that we can all strive for that regardless of our occupation, age or social condition. It doesn't mean perfectionism or this or that particular practice or penance, but rather, following the way of love that God has marked out for each of us.

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