June 22, 2024, marks the 25th Death Anniversary of our confrere, Fr Martin de Porres Maria Ward, OFM, Conv., the first African American Conventual Franciscan vocation in North America. After his studies at St. Francis Seminary, Staten Island, and St. Anthony-on-Hudson Major Seminary, Rensselaer, N.Y., and ordination in 1955, he and six other friars left for Brazil.
At the last Provincial Chapter (2022), Fr Julian Zambanini was appointed vice-postulator of the Cause and a Historical Commission, composed of two U.S. friars, Fr. James McCurry and Fr. Douglas McMillan along with friars of the Brazilian Custody of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Ronaldo Gomes, Fr. Marcelos dos Santos, Fr. Robson Malafaia, and Fr. Carlos Charles. This group is preparing a report on the life of Fr. Martin de Porres Ward. Once the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints approves the Cause presented by the Bishops of Brazil, the report of the Historical Commission will be sent to Rome where the final Positio, which is an extended analysis of the documentation, presented in the HC report, will be written. The Positio will be presented to the Dicastery of Causes of Saints by the Bishops of Brazil and to our Postulator General, Fr. Zdzislaw Kijas, O.F.M.Conv.
The Dicastery for the Causes of Saints (previously named the Congregation for the Causes of Saints), is the Dicastery of the Roman Curia that oversees the process that leads to the canonization of saints, passing through the steps of a declaration of “heroic virtues” and beatification. After preparing a case, including the approval of miracles several of which have been presented in Brazil, the case is presented to the pope, who decides whether to proceed with beatification or canonization.
For more information on the life of Fr. Martin de Porres Ward, how his Cause is being promoted by friars in Brazil and the faithful of Andrelandia where he is buried, and the Prayer for his Cause, follow the following links. Feel free to print and share this information in your ministries.
Prayer for Canonization of Fr Martin de Porres Maria Ward:
O Glorious Most High God, who deign to glorify in Heaven the souls of those who served and glorified you on Earth, hear our prayers (petitions in silence), and according to the design of Your Divine Providence, deign to glorify your Servant Friar Martin Maria, who by his love desired to offer his life for the education and service of the youth, the poor and the sick, that like our ’compadre’ we too may progress in the service of the most needy. Amen!
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