Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the beatification of Brother Leopoldo Sánchez Márquez de Alpandeire (1866-1956) in the Spanish city of Granada. Over 60,000 people were in attendance, and some 800,000 pray at the tomb of the humble Capuchin Franciscan friar every year. Some 150 religious figures, including two cardinals, seven archbishops and 10 bishops attended the open-air mass at the military air base of Armilla, celebrating the life of the Spanish monk, who died in 1956, aged 92.
His tomb, in the Capuchin convent in Granada, has gained cult status and was described by a website dedicated to his beatification as “the most visited place in Granada after the Alhambra palace”. Beatification is a step towards sainthood granted by the Roman Catholic Church, giving recipients the title of Blessed.
“The life of this simple and austere Capuchin religious,” said Pope Benedict following his Sunday Angelus address, “is a hymn to humility and to trust in God, as well as a shining example of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”