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Pope Francis recognizes two martyrs in Laos and approves canonization of Junipero Serra

The Pope has approved the canonization of three new blesseds, two Spaniards and an Italian. They are Father Junipero Serra, Maria Isabel Salvat and Italian priest Vincenzo Grossi.  

Father Junipero Serra was a Spanish missionary who evangelized California during the eighteenth century. Pope Francis has decided on an "equivalent canonization" for him, which doesn't require proof of a second miracle.   

Maria Isabella Salvat was superior general of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross. She died in Spain in 1998.    

The Pope also approved a decree recognizing the martyrdom of Father Mario Borzaga and catechist Paul Thoj Xyojj. They were killed in Laos during the era of communist rule more than 50 years ago.   

Pope Francis declared seven other people "venerable" and they are now closer to beatification. Among the seven is an Italian couple, Sergio Bernardini and Domenica Bedonni, a Spanish consecrated person, Rafaela Maria de Jesus; and the first Bishop of Uruguay, Jacinto Vera. Vera was a friend of St. John Bosco and is remembered for promoting the arrival of the Salesians and helping Jesuits settle in Uruguay.

DECREES APPROVED BY POPE FRANCIS

EQUIVALENT CANONIZATION

- Blessed Junipero Serra, priest of the Order of Friars Minor; Born in Petra (Spain) on November 24, 1713 and died in Monterrey (United States) on August 28, 1784.  

MIRACLES  

-Attributed to the intercession of Blessed Vincenzo Grossi, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Oratory (1845-1917);  

- Attributed to the intercession of Blessed Maria of the Immaculate Conception (nee Maria Isabel Salvat Romero), Spanish superior general of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross (1926-1998);  

- Attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Giacomo Abbondo, Italian diocesan priest (1720-1788);  

MARTYRDOM

- Servants of God Mario Borzaga, Italian professed priest of the Congregation of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Paul Thoj Xyooj, lay catechist, killed in hatred of the faith in Laos in April 1960;  

HEROIC VIRTUES  

- Servant of God Jacinto Vera, bishop of Montevideo, Uruguay (1813-1881);

- Servant of God Antonio Antic, Croatian professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor (1893-1965);  

- Servant of God Juliette Colbert de Falletti di Barolo, French laywoman, widow and founder of the Daughters of Jesus the Good Shepherd (1786-1864);

- Servant of God Maria Brigida Postorino, Italian founder of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (1865-1960);

- Servant of God Maria Rafaela Jesus Hostia, Spanish professed nun of the Order of Capuchin Poor Clares (1915-1991);

- Servant of God Sergio Bernardini, Italian layman and father (1882-1966);

- Servant of God Domenica Bedonni in Bernardini, Italian laywoman and mother (1889-1971). JRB/ATO RR SV -PR Up:AC