~ by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The refusal to help desperate migrants “is revolting, it’s sinful, it’s criminal,” Pope Francis said as he canonized a bishop dedicated to assisting migrants.
“The exclusion of migrants is criminal. It makes them die in front of us,” the Pope said on October 9th referring to the deaths of migrants and refugees crossing dangerous seas in search of freedom and a dignified life.
At the beginning of the liturgy in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis formally recognized the holiness of St. Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, an Italian who founded the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo to care for migrants and St. Artemide Zatti, an Italian immigrant in Argentina who became a Salesian brother, pharmacist and nurse.
The prayers at the Mass included one for “those forced to leave their homeland,” and asking God to teach people to share “his welcoming gaze toward all people” and “heal the throwaway culture of indifference.”
“With great vision,” the Pope said, St. Scalabrini “looked forward to a world and a church without barriers, where no one was a foreigner.” To read the entire account, please click here
It was at the time of her first trip to Rome that Mother Cabrini met Bishop Scalabrini. It is said that Bishop Scalabrini was the man who was the single most important individual responsible for Mother Cabrini’s decision to go to America.
On January 23, 1889, Bishop Scalabrini wrote to Archbishop Corrigan of New York: “The Sisters destined for New York will be the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a new community, but stable and well-experienced.” Actually, Mother Cabrini did not finally determine with Bishop Scalabrini an exact departure date for New York until February 1889.
The Sisters arrived in New York harbor on March 31, 1889. Wrote Mother Cabrini’s companion, Sr. Umilia,“Finally, we saw the beautiful Statue of Liberty. Oh, how happy Mother Cabrini was. I could read the joy on her face. She called us together to sing the ‘Ave Maris Stella.”
~ excerpts from Mother Cabrini – Italian Immigrant of the Century, by Sr. M.L. Sullivan, MSC, PhD