of Blessed Seelos Meet
the Positio Author Angela
The Beatification of Francis Xavier Seelos
“Spectacular,” “magnificent,” “awesome,” “cool” (this adjective uttered by a true twenty-something from Arizona)! Words failed to adequately express the emotions of those who witnessed the beatification ceremony in Vatican City, where Redemptorist Father Francis Xavier Seelos was one of five people beatified in the outdoor ceremony. He was the only North American beatified during the Solemn Jubilee Year 2000.
During the ceremony, Archbishop Francis B. Schulte of New Orleans stood before his Holiness Pope John Paul II and read a biography of Blessed Francis Seelos. Most Rev. Joseph W. Tobin, Superior General of the Redemptorists, was a principal concelebrant. Longtime Seelos Center staff members, parishioners at St. Mary’s Assumption Church, and numerous Redemptorists from around the world participated in the moving liturgy. It was a liturgy where a multitude of the faithful could not be contained within Bernini’s colonnade — and a multitude of emotions could not be contained within those who finally saw Father Seelos beatified!
Speaking about Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, the Holy Father said:
“Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervor sustain me, that I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you” (Ps 51: 14-15).
Faithful to the spirit and charism of the Redemptorist Congregation to which he belonged, Francis Xavier Seelos often meditated upon these words of the Psalmist. Sustained by God's grace and an intense life of prayer, Fr Seelos left his native Bavaria and committed himself generously and joyfully to the missionary apostolate among immigrant communities in the United States.
In the various places where he worked, Fr. Seelos brought his enthusiasm, spirit of sacrifice and apostolic zeal. To the abandoned and the lost he preached the message of Jesus Christ, “the source of eternal salvation” (Heb 5: 9), and in the hours spent in the confessional he convinced many to return to God. Today, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos invites the members of the Church to deepen their union with Christ in the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Through his intercession, may all who work in the vineyard for the salvation of God’s people be encouraged and strengthened in their task.