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Pope to proclaim Brazilian, Canadian church pioneers saints in April

 | 
Vatican City

Without a canonization ceremony, Pope Francis will declare three pioneers of the Catholic church in the Americas saints April 2, according to a Jesuit working on the causes.

Signing a decree, the pope will recognize the sainthood of Blessed Jose de Anchieta, a Jesuit known as the Apostle of Brazil; Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation, known as the Mother of the Canadian Church; and Blessed Francois de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec.

Jesuit Fr. Marc Lindeijer, assistant postulator of sainthood causes for his order, confirmed reports that Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving April 24 for the new St. Anchieta. Bishops and pilgrims from Brazil and from Tenerife, Spain, where the saint was born, will join the pope for the celebration in the Jesuit's Church of St. Ignatius in Rome.

Thanksgiving celebrations with Pope Francis honoring the new Canadian saints are being planned for October, Lindeijer told Catholic News Service on Wednesday.

The three new saints were beatified together in 1980, along with now-Sts. Kateri Tekakwitha and Pedro de San Jose Betancur.

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De Anchieta, de l'Incarnation and de Laval will be declared saints using a procedure known as "equivalent canonizations," which require a thorough study of the candidates' life and writings, fame of holiness and reports of favors granted through their intercession, but not the verification of a miracle through their intercession, nor further studies by historians and theologians working for the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

The use of "equivalent canonizations" had been rare until recently. Pope Benedict XVI used the procedure to canonize St. Hildegard of Bingen, and Pope Francis has used it to canonize both St. Angela of Foligno and St. Peter Faber, one of the original Jesuits.

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