Wednesday, May 12, 2004
A Saint for our Times  

As reported in Zenit, on Sunday, May 16th, the Holy Father will canonize six individuals. Among the blesseds to be canonized is a saint who speaks to our time. He is José Manyanet y Vives, a priest who promoted devotion to the Holy Family in order to strengthen families everywhere.

He was born in Tremp, Spain, on Jan. 7, 1833, and ordained a priest at age 26. After 12 years in the Diocese of Urgell, he felt called by God to become a religious and to found two congregations: the Sons of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph (1864), and, 10 years later, the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

The mission of these religious families was oriented to imitating, honoring and propagating devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth, and working for the Christian formation of families, primarily through Catholic education and instruction of children and youths, and the priestly ministry.

Father Manyanet wrote several works and founded The Holy Family magazine, which is currently published in Spanish and Italian.

He also promoted the building in Barcelona of the church of the Holy Family. The church's architect, Antoni Gaudí, is in the process of beatification.

Father Manyanet, whose health was weakened by open wounds on his side, which he bore for 16 years and which he called "the Lord's mercies," died Dec. 17, 1901, in Barcelona.

His last words were: "Jesus, Joseph and Mary: receive my soul when I die."

The period in which he lived was "comparable to our time," says Father Everino Miri, postulator of the cause of canonization. "There was a propaganda that was absolutely contrary to the Christian spirit and to the Christian formation of the family through the sacrament of marriage."

The future saint started "from a very important principle valid also for today," Father Miri said. "Through the education of children and youths, the families of tomorrow can be formed -- a type of preventive method, a way of thinking for the future."

We should ask for the intercession of the Holy Family along with José Manyanet y Vives' prayers because we do indeed face a crisis of the family being attacked on all fronts. There is not a moral issue today which is not in some way an attack upon the family. Every life issue from abortion to stem cell research relates to the family.

José Manyanet y Vives response to the same crisis in the nineteenth century should be our response. We must educate the children in order that they carry the fullness of the Faith to the next generation.

Today, however, we may need to approach the problem from a slightly different point of view. The unfortunate failure of the catechesis of today's parents means that the primary educators of the children are ill-equipped to pass the faith on to their children. No CCD program for children can substitute for the lack of day-to-day education which a child needs. Instead, faithful Catholics need to address the root of the problem.

Every means possible should be used to teach the faith to the adults. Adult education programs should be the crown jewel of every formation program. Religious education is not just for children. It is a lifelong process that every faithful Catholic needs to pursue no matter what age they are.

I urge those who feel a calling to this apostolate to roll up their sleeves and take a leadership role as an educator for adults. My own limited experience in leading Bible studies for adults has been very positive. I have learned so much about our Holy Faith, and I get excited just thinking about passing on that information to others. There are many good, faithful resources available to help any one who wants to help others.

We should let José Manyanet y Vives inspire us to educate ourselves about the faith and then share what we have learned with others.

Holy Family pray for us that we may help families today perservere through the storms of our times.

Posted by David at 7:44 PM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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