11/24/2014, 00.00
VATICAN - INDIA
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Pope thanks Church of India - and Kerala - for its witness of faith

Francis met the faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church in Rome for the canonisation of Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia Eluvathingal. The pope called on them to "Keep up the good work! Kerala is rich in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Continue on this path, working through your witness."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A "thank you" to the Church of India, in particular to that of the southern state of Kerala, "for all its apostolic vigour and for your witness to the Faith! My heartfelt gratitude! Keep up the good work! Kerala is rich in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Continue on this path, working through your witness", Pope Francis said this morning in St Peter's Basilica during a meeting with the faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church currently in Rome for the canonisation of Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia Eluvathingal.

The pontiff also thanked "Cardinal George Alencherry, the Bishops, priests, men and women religious, and each of you, dear brothers and sisters of the Syro-Malabar rite. I remember in a special way the Cardinal of the Syro-Malankara rite: thank you! Did you know that your Syro-Malankar Cardinal is the youngest member of the College of Cardinals?"

"You have come to Rome in great numbers on this very important occasion," the pope told those present, "and have been able to live days of faith and ecclesial communion, praying also at the tombs of the Apostles. May this time of celebration and intense spirituality help you to contemplate the marvellous works accomplished by the Lord in the lives and deeds of these new saints."

The two new saints, Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia Eluvathingal, a woman religious from the institute he founded, "remind each of us that God's love is the source, the support and the goal of all holiness, while love of neighbour is the clearest manifestation of love for God. Father Kuriakose Elias was a religious, both active and contemplative, who generously gave his life for the Syro-Malabar Church, putting into action the maxim 'sanctification of oneself and the salvation of others'. For her part, Sister Euphrasia lived in profound union with God so much so that her life of holiness was an example and an encouragement to the people, who called her 'Praying Mother'. There are many consecrated religious here today, especially consecrated women. May you also may be known as 'Praying Sisters'."

May the example of these new saints, Francis said in concluding, "help you to treasure their lessons of evangelical living. Follow in their footsteps and imitate them, in a particular way, through love of Jesus in the Eucharist and love of the Church. Thus you will advance along the path to holiness. With this hope and the assurance of my prayers, I impart to each of you and to all your loved ones my Apostolic Blessing. Thank you!

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