Catholics In Double Canonisation Joy
KOCHI: It was a jubilant moment for the Catholic community when Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sr Euphrasia were elevated to sainthood by Pope Francis on Sunday at a pious ceremony attended by people from different parts of the world, including some 5,000 from Kerala, at St Peter’s Square in Vatican.
With this, the Syro Malabar Catholic Church has three saints, the first being Sr Alphonsa who was elevated to the revered rank in 2008. Four Italians – Giovanni Antonio Farina, Ludovico de Casoria, Nicola da Longobardi and Amato Ronconi – were also elevated to sainthood at the ceremony.
The ceremony began with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, reading out out the names of the to-be canonised and requesting the Pope to elevate them to sainthood.
After the Pope made the official declaration, the holy relics of Fr Chavara and Sr Euphrasia were placed at the altar. Fr Chavara’s holy relics were carried by Fr James Madathikandathil while the relics of Sr Euphrasia were carried by Sr Sancta, superior general of the CMC order. State Rural Development Minister K C Joseph accompanied them.
Cardinal Amato and Fr Cherian Thunduparambil, postulators for Fr Chavara and Sr Euphrasia, and the postulators for the four Italians accompanied Pope Francis to the altar.
A large number of devotees, including two Cardinals and many clerics and nuns from the state, attended the two-hour ceremony led by Pope Francis. Keralite expats from European countries also reached Vatican to witness the historic event.
Special prayers were held in Catholic churches across the state to mark the occasion.
Places associated with Fr Chavara and Sr Euphrasia – Mannanam in Kottayam district, Kainakari in Alappuzha district, Koonammavu in Ernakulam district and Ollur in Thrissur district –have been under the grip of spiritual fervour for the last several days.
Born at Kainakari, Fr Chavara worked for providing secular education not only to Catholics but also to the children from other communities, including from the backward sections of society.
The procedures for Fr Chavara’s canonisation had begun long back. Fr Chavara was declared a Venerable in 1984 and beatified by Pope John Paul II, during his visit to the state in 1986. Sr Euphrasia Eluvathinkal, better known as Evuprasiamma, brought spiritual solace to the people through prayers and wise counsel, according to Vatican.
Sr Euphrasia was born on October 17, 1877 at Aranattukara in Thrissur and died in 1952. She was a member of the Congregation of Mother of Carmel, the order for women founded by Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara.