Pope John Paul II beatified five people including a Canadian nun and the first ever Puerto Rican in a solemn mass in Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican on Sunday.
Not only has Carlos Manuel Rodriguez (1918-1963), become the first ever Puerto Rican to be beatified, but also by completing the process in nine and a half years, he is by far the quickest in the history of the modern church.
The Pope also beatified two Italian nuns, Caterina Volpicelli (1839-1894) and Catterina Cittadina (1801-1857) and a Canadian nun Marie-Anne Blondin (1809-1890).
Blondin was famed for teaching poor children to read and write in a congregation she founded in Vaudreuil, France in 1833.
Spaniard Manuel Gonzalez Garcia (1877-1940), bishop of Malaga and founder of the Nazareth congregation of missionaries, was also beatified in the mass.
Since becoming pontiff in 1978, Pope John Paul II has beatified a total of 1,232 people and has canonized 447 saints.
Church procedures for beatification and canonization were reformed in 1983 to make it simpler and quicker, reflecting the pope's wish to honour contemporary martyrs for the faith -- VATICAN CITY (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )