As a minor basilica, this church – the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine – has a unique relationship with the ministry of the Supreme Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome who is more popularly call “the Pope.” Today, Pope Francis will celebrate the canonization of the Pope who honored this church with the title of “minor basilica” on December 4, 1976 – Pope Paul VI.
Maybe Pope Paul’s most famous quote is this: “If you want peace, work for justice.” It came in the 1972 Papal Message for the World Day of Prayer for Peace (January 1) which had been established by Paul himself in 1967. The reminder that justice (fair and equal treatment of each other) is the first and major step to real, abiding peace would be oft-quoted as well as find its way on posters for decades. Today, Pope Francis in declaring Paul VI to be saint will also canonize Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador. The latter fought hard as an advocate of the downtrodden and oppressed poor until his assassination on March 24, 1980. This grace-filled connection makes it seem providential that our present Pope would decide to celebrate their canonizations on the same day.
At the 11:00 Mass today we will honor Pope Saint Paul VI for his special connection to our Cathedral along with Saint Óscar Romero. Holy cards for both will be distributed following all Masses this weekend as a remembrance of today’s events. Please take only one per person so we can ensure as wide a distribution as possible for our parishioners.