Vatican New Saints

October 12, 2009 9:39:36 AM PDT
President Barack Obama is hailing one of the Catholic Church's newest saints as a man whose work a century ago is helping AIDS sufferers in today's world. Pope Benedict canonized five new saints yesterday, including a 19th-century Belgian priest commonly known as Father Damien, who worked with leprosy patients on the Hawaiian island of Molokai (MOH'-luh-ky).

Obama, who was born in Hawaii, noted that millions worldwide suffer from disease, especially HIV/AIDS, and urged people to follow Damien's example by "answering the urgent call to heal and care for the sick."

Among the pilgrims in St. Peter's Basilica was a Hawaii resident who recovered from lung cancer after praying to Father Damien -- a healing the Vatican describes as miraculous.

The pope says the five new saints, which include two Spaniards, a Frenchwoman and a Polish bishop, gave themselves totally without "calculation or personal gain."

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