With the beatification of Abouna Yaacoub, the ecclesiastical authority has renewed its trust in our Congregation, the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross, by inviting and urges us to work hard in the heart of our mother church, and to meet the needs of our country and Diaspora countries.
After joy filled our hearts with the sentiments of transfiguration during two big events which are the jubilee and the beatification, we are obliged today to reinvent and regain our strength, to draw a path to our association, which coincides with the rapid development of the world and the church; we preserve the spiritual legacy that Abouna Yaacoub left us with a spiritual view towards our future, through the guidance of our mother church.
The beatification of our founder will always remain a motive for us to move forward, with steady paces, from beatification into sanctification, if God wills it, and sanctity will remain the ultimate goal for all our work, because “God’s will is our sanctity” (1 Tess 4/3). We hope to work for the kingdom, and continue with the path that has been set to us by Abouna Yaacoub so that we can be cherished and cherish the people around us, so that his path can keep on living inside of us and we can make it live in others.
On the 22nd of June 2008, thousands of Lebanese gathered since the early hours of the morning, to participate in the mass which declares Abouna Yaacoub Al-Haddad Capuchin as being a Saint, who will be added to the list of Saints in Lebanon. During a grand ceremony in the martyrs square in Beirut, it was the first time such event takes place outside the capital of the Vatican. As for his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, he was represented, in Lebanon, by the prefect of the congregation of Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraïva Martins, to head the mass of beatification, with the participation of His Beatitude and Eminence Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant, and Monsignor Antonio Maria Vilio, the secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, His Excellency the Apostolic nuncio in Lebanon, Monsignor Luigi Gatti, Archbishop Boulos Dahdah Vicar Apostolic of the Latins in Lebanon, Father Mauro Johri General Superior of the Capuchins in the world, Tanios Rizk regional superior in Lebanon and in the East for the minor Capuchins Brothers, along with a group of patriarchs and bishops of the Maronite Church and the heads of other Churches in Lebanon.
The Lebanese president Michel Sleiman along with his wife, Mrs. Wafaa, also participated in the celebrations, as well as the president of parliament Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and his wife, Mrs. Huda, and other political, official, military and administrative figures.
At the beginning of the celebrations, Father Salim Rizkallah Capuchin read a summary about the life of Abouna Yaacoub. After that, Cardinal Martins read the papal letter that announces the Sanctity of Abouna Yaacoub, which read like this: “We, the archbishops of Aryan in Numidia, at the honorable behest of our brother Boulos Dahdah, Vicar Apostolic of the Latins in Lebanon, and also at the behest of many others of our brothers in the Episcopate, and several believers, after considering the opinion of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and with our apostolic authority, we grant the blessed grace, from this day forward, to the servant of God Yaacoub Al-Ghaziri, a professed priest in the convent for minor Capuchins brothers, and founder of the sisters of the cross Congregation, who spent his life as a good Samaritan, helping the sick and the unfortunate. The following is applied in all places and according to the measures of the legal right. A celebration takes place every year for his birthday, on the 26th of June, the day of his birth in the heavens, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen”.
Then, the curtain was drawn over the picture which was adopted as the official picture of the new Blessed.
After the Holy Bible, Patriarch Sfeir delivered a sermon entitled: “Then the righteous shine like the sun in the kingdom of God”.
As for the Eucharist offering, it invoked all that Abouna Yaacoub has achieved and offered.
At the end of the mass, the president of the minor brothers gave a speech in which he expressed his happiness for participating in this celebration.
Sister Mary Makhlouf, the General Superior of the Sisters of the Cross Congregation, concluded the ceremony with a renewed promise to Abouna Yaacoub, a promise to continue the path on the road of the cross, and a promise to the officials and the people that the sisters will serve and will remain attentive, under the mercy of God and the intercession of Abouna Yaacoub so that Lebanon will remain the country of holiness, mission, freedom and peace.
The Miracle of Beatification:
After a three year study concerning the healing of Mrs. Mary Kattan of Maghdouche, who suffered from cancer, it was agreed upon in Lebanon and also in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome, that the healing carried the feel of a miracle. It happened by virtue of the prayers of her brother’s son, residing in Canada. The miracle was studied in Lebanon, under the ecclesiastical court, which listened to different witnesses, and was transferred to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. In this congregation, the medical and the theological committees, as well as all the cardinals united, all agreed that the healing was not scientifically proven. All these stages were topped by the ratification of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI of the miracle, on the 17th of December 2007.