I’ve pretty much been praying the same morning offering since my first Holy Communion.
Every once in a while, I’ll make a change or addition to my memorized prayer … and that happened this very day at 6:00 a.m.
When my niece Shannon was diagnosed with cancer a dozen years ago at age nine, I added Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha to the litany of my favorite friends in heaven whom I beseech at the opening of each day, figuring that she, who herself battled a life threatening illness when she, too, was a little girl, would have a special solicitude for Shannon.
Well, today, for the first time in 12 years, I invoked Saint Kateri Tekakwitha!
And, when I was appointed Archbishop of New York over three-and-a-half years ago, I added to that litany each dawn those beatified and canonized who are part of our New York Catholic spiritual family, including Blessed Marianne Cope. Well, since she, too, got a promotion yesterday, I had the joy of invoking her early this a.m. as Saint Marianne Cope.
It was a thrill to concelebrate the Mass of Canonization Sunday morning in St. Peter’s Square, united with 85,000 believers from all five continents, as Pope Benedict XVI solemnly declared seven new Saints, among them our beloved Kateri and Marianne.
Especially uplifting was to be here with thousands of pilgrims from home, including Native Americans of New York State, celebrating their own Kateri, and parishioners from now St. Kateri Parish in Lagrangeville, led by Monsignor Desmond O’Connor, their pastor, and a big crowd from the Diocese of Syracuse, home of St. Marianne Cope’s Sisters of St. Francis.
Congratulations as well for the beloved Filipino community at home, as their second countryman, Pedro Calungsod, was also canonized yesterday.
It’ll take me a while to get used to these two little changes in my morning prayers … but it is ever worth the effort!
Because part of my daily conversation with Jesus is that even more of the great state I proudly call my earthly home will one day be saints!
So, it’s back to work here in Rome at the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. I miss you! See you next Monday!