On this date of 22 August, 2017, the Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of the beatification ceremony of confrere Antoine- Frederic Ozanam, in Paris, during the 12th World Youth Day (WYD/1997), in a ceremony presided over by Pope John Paul II. Thousands of Vincentians attended the event, and thousands watched it on media vehicles.
At that time, the Pope said: “Frederic Ozanam believed in love, in the love that God has for all men. He himself was called to love, giving an example of a great love of God and of others. He visited everyone who most needed love, to whom God’s Love could not be effectively revealed except through the love of another person. Frederic Ozanam discovered his vocation in this action, he saw the way in which Christ called him. He found in it his path to holiness. And he went through it with determination.”
It is clear that Ozanam is an example of a man of faith for all mankind. Intellectual and fervent Catholic, he dedicated his whole life and faith to the service of truth and the most disadvantaged. Deeply committed to justice and human dignity, he was the precursor of the encyclical “Rerum Novarum” (which contains the Social Doctrine of the Church). “In his family, he was an exceptional son, brother, husband, and father,” as his Prayer for Canonization highlights. With his friends, he gave the world a gift with the creation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1833.
According to the 16th President General of the SSVP, confrere Renato Lima de Oliveira, the current term of the International General Council is making every effort to accelerate the procedures for the canonization of Ozanam. The international team, led by Priest Giuseppe Guerra, CM, is very motivated due to the new potential miracles that, once analysed, can be attributed to Ozanam. The first, recognized by the Church, happened in 1926, with the extraordinary cure of Luiz Fernando Ottoni, a Brazilian boy who had malignant diphtheria.
“I feel in my heart that the canonization is near. The four cases under study (in Brazil, Portugal, and Venezuela) are very strong, and we actually feel the intercession of Ozanam in all these possible cures. We are intensely praying and working hard so that the Vatican can soon declare the holiness of the blessed Antoine-Frédéric Ozanam, which will be a great honour for all of us, Vincentians of the SSVP, and also for the whole Vincentian Family,” said the President General.
The International General Council invites all Councils and Conferences from all over the world to organize, on 22 August, a Mass in each place where the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is present, for the canonization of Ozanam. “To receive the grace of a new miracle, we have to be faithful devotees of Ozanam, trust in his intercession, and include him in our daily prayers,” said the President General.
On September 9, in Paris, the International General Council celebrated the 20th anniversary of Ozanam’s beatification in a Mass to be held with the Vincentians of the Council of Paris, at the Church of St. Joseph des Carmes, where Ozanam is buried.