Some 50 thousand faithful were present last Sunday in St. Peter’s Square for the canonization of two new saints, Giovanni Battista Scalabrini and Artemide Zatti. The former was the founder of the Scalabrinians, the congregation that cares for migrants and refugees; the latter, a Salesian, was himself a migrant in Argentina.
The ceremony was attended by the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ John Dunlap, together with the Grand Commander, Fra’ Emmanuel Rousseau, the Grand Hospitaller, Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis and Fra’ Roberto Viazzo, member of the Sovereign Council. The canonization was also an opportunity for the Sovereign Order of Malta’s delegation to meet the Pope’s delegate, Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, belonging to the congregation of the Scalabrinians.
In his homily, Pope Francis hoped that the two new saints will help us to walk together, without walls of division and cultivating gratitude. The Pope recalled Bishop Scalabrini’s work for migrants, who should not be considered “only problems but also a providential plan”. His canonization will remind the Christian community of its commitment to welcoming and integrating migrants for a more fraternal society.
Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, founder of the congregations of the missionaries and sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, had been beatified by Pope John Paul II on 9 November 1997.