POPE CANONIZES MARTYRS OF OTRANTO, COLOMBIAN LAURA MONTOYA, AND MEXICAN GUADALUPE GARCIA ZAVALA

Vatican City, 12 May 2013 (VIS) – “Let us look to the new saints in light of the Word of God that has been proclaimed,” the Pope said during his homily at the Mass in which three new saints were canonized. “It is a Word that has invited us to faithfulness to Christ, even unto martyrdom. It has recalled for us the urgency and beauty of bearing Christ and his Gospel to all. It has spoken to us of the witness of charity, without which even martyrdom and mission lose their Christian savour.”

The Martyrs of Otranto were more than 800 men from the southern Italian city who had survived the siege and invasion of Otranto only to be decapitated on the outskirts of the city when they refused to renounce their faith and died witnessing to the Risen Christ. “Where did they find the strength to remain faithful,” the Pope asked. “Precisely from the faith, which makes us see beyond the limits of our human sight, beyond this earthly life … God will never leave us without strength and serenity. While we venerate the Martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain the many Christians who, precisely at this time, now, and in many parts of the world, are still suffering violence, that He give them the valour to be faithful and to respond to evil with good.”

The second saint canonized, Mother Laura Montoya, “was an instrument of evangelisation, first as a teacher and then as the spiritual mother of the indigenous peoples in whom she instilled hope, embracing them with the love she had learned from God, bringing them to him with a pedagogical efficiency that respected their culture and didn't put itself in opposition to it. … This first saint born in the beautiful Colombian land teaches us to be generous with God, to not live the faith in isolation—as if it were possible to live the faith in an isolated way—but to communicate it, to bear the joy of the Gospel with words and witness of life in every sphere in which we find ourselves. … She teaches us to see Jesus' face reflected in others, to overcome indifference and selfishness, which corrode Christian communities and corrode our hearts, and she teaches us to embrace everyone without prejudice, without discrimination, and without reticence, but with sincere love, giving them the best of ourselves and above all sharing with them what we have that is most precious—not our deeds or our institutions. No! What we have that is most precious is Christ and his Gospel.”

Saint Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, “renouncing a life of ease—and how damaging the easy life, well-being, can be; the “embourgeoisement” of our hearts that paralyses us—...to follow Jesus' call, who taught her to love poverty so that she could love the poor and the sick more. … The poor, the abandoned, the ill, the marginalized are the flesh of Christ. Mother Lupita touched Christ's flesh and taught us this way of acting: of not being embarrassed, not being afraid, not being disgusted to 'touch the flesh of Christ'! … This new Mexican saint invites us to love as Jesus has loved us and this entails not being locked up in oneself, in our own problems, our own ideas, our own interests, in this little world that causes us so much harm, but to go out and go in search of who needs attention, understanding, and help, in order to bring them the warm nearness of God's love through tactful gestures of sincere affection and love.”

At the end of his homily, the Pope emphasized that the new saints teach us “faithfulness to Jesus and his Gospel, to proclaim him in word and with our lives, witnessing to God's love with our love and with our charity towards all.”