Pope canonises two Indians
In a ceremony which was watched closely by thousands in Kerala, a Catholic priest and a nun from the state - Father Kuriakose Chavara and Sister Euphrasia - were conferred sainthood by Pope Francis at Vatican yesterday.
Prayers and masses were offered at several churches in Kerala since early morning yesterday, and thousands of devotees thronged these churches.
Father Kuriakose Chavara was ordained as a priest in 1829. Revered as a reformist priest and credited for initiating several measures, he was beatified in 1986 along with Sister Alphonsa. Sister Euphrasia, who led a more secluded life devoted to prayers, was beatified in 2006. She was known as a 'praying mother' and a 'saint among nuns', who, according to followers, had several miracles to her credit.
She died in 1952, at the age of 75 and is buried at Ollur, Thrissur.
To witness the canonisation ceremony, a 5,000-strong delegation of Kerala Catholic church had reached the Vatican. The delegation includes respected personalities from other religions.
The Kerala government deputed two ministers for the occasion. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien is leading the Indian delegation.
Christians constitute 23% of Kerala's 33 million population and a chunk of them are Catholics.