Lighting the Easter candle at out Easter Vigil Saturday night

St. Pedro de San José Betancur

“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the vic-tims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness.”

St. Pedro de San José Betancur was born to a poor family in the Canary Islands. While he grew up dreaming of becoming a priest, he worked as a shepherd until he was 24. At that time he left for Guatemala with the aim of connecting with a relative. Unfortunately, he ran out of money by the time he made it to Havana and had to remain there to work. It took him 17 months to get to Guatemala and along the way he saw firsthand the cruelty and misery inflicted on slaves and Native Americans.

He later enrolled in a Jesuit college but withdrew as he had difficulty mastering the material no matter how hard he studied. He instead joined the secular Franciscan order and three years later opened a hospital, shelter and school for the poor. Many came to work alongside Pedro and they later developed the Bethlemite Congregation.

Pedro was the first Guatemalan saint canonized in 2002. He is known as the St. Francis of the Americas. He is also credited for the popular Christ-mas Eve posadas procession in which people represent Mary and Jo-seph seeking lodging. His feast day is April 25th.

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Saint’s Corner

A monthly look at Saints by Danica Balsiger.


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