Pope canonizes Brazil's first Saint

 On Friday morning, Pope Benedict presided at an open-air Mass in Sao Paulo's 'Campo de Marte' in the presence of a rapturous crowd of more than a million people waving banners and flags. A huge wooden cross-stood over the altar, flanked by choirs and clergy. During the ceremony he canonized Blessed Antonio de Santa Ana who lived from 1739 to 1822, a much-loved Franciscan priest who founded the Retreat of Our Lady of the Conception and Divine Providence, today known as the Convent of Light. Beginning his homily, the Holy Father addressed a special greeting to the Conceptionist nuns who, he said: "spread the spirituality and charism of the first Brazilian to be raised to the glory of the altars." He encouraged his listeners to follow the example of the new saint by helping the needy "in an age so full of hedonism". The Holy Father invited the faithful to give thanks to God for the gift of sanctity "which, together with faith, is the greatest grace that can be bestowed upon a creature: the firm desire to attain the fullness of charity, in the conviction that holiness is not only possible but also necessary for every person in his or her own state of life, so as to reveal to the world the true face of Christ, our friend!" After canonising Friar Galvao, the Pope hugged Sandra Grossi de Almeida and her seven-year-old son, Enzo. She is one of two Brazilian women who experienced miraculous cures after asking for Friar Galvao's prayers. Ms Almeida, had suffered from a condition that made her unable to remain pregnant for more than four months but after appealing to Friar Galvao, gave birth to Enzo. Following Mass, the Holy Father travelled by car to the monastery of Sao Bento, where he had lunch. In the afternoon, the Pope met some 430 Brazilian bishops at 'da Se' Sao Paulo cathedral. Source: VIS

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