Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 24: At a gala event at Vatican's St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis conferred sainthood to a Catholic priest and nun from Kerala. To the delight of the people of Kerala, the ceremony included a Latin Hymn and and a recommendation by a representative of the Congregation for the Saints. Thereafter, Pope Francis pronounced them saints at a special mass.
Representatives of the new saints handed over portions of the holy remains to be kept there as part of the canonisation ritual. The Pope said,"They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbour. heir preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and measure of their unconditional love of God."
The 5000 strong delegation from the Kerala Catholic church, who attended the ceremony at the Vatican were led by two ministers appointed by the Kerala government. However, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien led the delegation.
Back in Kerala, people burst in applause as the Vatican named the two as saints. Mass prayers and gatherings were held at various places in Kottayam and Thrissur, the home town of the two. Colourful processions were held across the state in th ehonour of the two. With this, the Syro Malabar Church now has three Saints-the first being Sister Alphonsa, who was declared a saint in 2008.
Father Chavara was known for promoting education along with church and propagating reforms within the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. He also established the first printing press among the Syro-Malabar churches in Kottayam. The press published the first Malayalam Daily and also popularised Sunday sermons.
He was ordained priesthood in 1829.
He died in 1871 and is buried at Saint Philomina's Church at Koonammavu in Ernakulam district. He was beatified in 1986 along with Sister Alphonsa, after claims of several miracles by his followers.
Sister Euphrasia, on the other hand led a more secluded life with her prayets. She was beatified in 2006. Also known as a 'praying mother' or a 'saint among nuns', she has a number of miracles to her credit.
She died in 1952 at the age of 75 and is buried at Ollur, Thrissur.