U.S. Catholic Bishops Endorse Servant of God Isaac Hecker’s Cause for Beatification and Canonization

On Tuesday, November 14, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to support the advancement of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of our founder, Servant of God Isaac Hecker.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York presented Fr. Hecker’s story to the bishops during their fall plenary assembly in Baltimore.

Cardinal Dolan said of Fr. Hecker:

“His life is a classic American story. The son of immigrants, difficult childhood, raised by a single mother, Hecker didn’t have it easy. … 

“Like a modern-day Augustine, his restless heart was constantly searching. … 

“He would have recognized himself in the many young people today who claim to be spiritual but not religious. His openness to the Truth soon brought him to reckon with the claims of Catholicism. And, here, the yearning of his heart met the rigor of his mind and he found himself at home.

“Like those Apostles on Pentecost Sunday, he was on fire to share this with everyone. For the rest of his life, Isaac Hecker maintained a deep devotion to the Holy Spirit whom he trusted to guide his ministry. … 

“He was a multi-media (even for the time) missionary in the parish missions that he preached so vigorously, in the lectures he delivered, in the books he published, in the periodicals he founded, in the countless columns he penned. Fr. Hecker worked tirelessly to proclaim the Word of God.

“Two-fold was his purpose: To make the Catholic faith appealing and accessible and compelling to a skeptical, and at times hostile, population, and then to educate and encourage Catholics in their own faith, enabling them to become ambassadors for Christ. … 

” … he sought an apostolate of attraction to propose the faith with clarity, color, and charity, always assuming the goodwill of those to whom he preached. … 

“Here is what’s unique, too: His efforts were animated by a deep sense of hope in the future of the United States of America despite the divisions that, at his time, were tearing the country apart. Fr. Hecker believed that the Catholic Church was uniquely positioned to heal and unite the American people, reminding us all of our universal belonging to Christ.

“In the face of a skeptical Old World back in Europe, Fr. Hecker believed that America’s founding principles formed a fertile field for the faith. And, with the Church unfettered here in this republic to propose her beliefs in the marketplace of ideas, he had every confidence that the Truth would prevail.

“His confidence and trust in the Holy Spirit cast out all fear. This was not false optimism, brothers, but the conviction of faith, seen through the bright light of Truth, the fire of Love. 

“Convinced was he that the Holy Spirit renews the individual soul and that that soul would help build up the Church, the Church could then sanctify the world.

“His faith ought to inspire us, I propose, as we call upon that same Spirit to fill our hearts, to renew the face of the Earth, as we strive to continue his own missionary work in this vineyard of America, sharing his joy and his steadfast loyalty to the Church that he called his home.”

“I ask for your endorsement, brother bishops, that the Church might soon raise to the altars, this Servant of God, this son of our shores, a saint for our times, Isaac Thomas Hecker.”

Read the Good Newsroom’s Report on the USCCB Vote

Read OSV News’ Report on the USCCB Vote

Article from Paulist Fathers weekly Things to Know email on November 15, 2023.
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