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Vatican City, November 24, 2014 (Agencies) Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia from India were among six people conferred sainthood by Pope Francis on Sunday at a special canonisation mass here—a moment of elation and spiritual fervour for Christians in India. Reformist Catholic priest Chavara and reclusive nun Euphrasia from Kerala, along with four beatified Italians, were declared saints by the Pope during the mass at St Peter’s Square at Vatican City, attended by tens of thousands of worshippers from across the world. About 5,000 believers from Kerala led by two cardinals, as well as bishops, clergy and nuns, travelled to the Vatican to witness the solemn event, which was also shown live on special screens set up outside churches in the state.

The four saints from Italy are Giovanni Antonio Farina, Ludovico da Casoria, Nicola da Longobardi and Amato Ronconi. Three saints With Chavara and Euphrasia’s canonisation, as the finale of the long-drawn process is known in Catholic parlance, the centuries-old Syro Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala now has three Saints, the first being Sister Alphonsa, raised to the revered rank in 2008.  Conferring the sainthood, the Pope said the new saints provided examples of service to “the smallest and the poorest”.

“Today, the Church places before us the example of these new saints. They dedicated themselves, without holding back, to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims. Their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and measure of their unconditional love of God,” the Vatican Radio quoted Pope Francis as saying. “Through the rite of canonisation, we have confessed once again the mystery of God’s kingdom and we have honoured Christ the King, the Shepherd full of love for his sheep. Let us follow in their footsteps, imitating their faith and love, so that our hope too may be clothed in immortality. May we not allow ourselves to be distracted by other earthly and fleeting interests,” said the Pope. 

Three places closely associated to the lives of Chavara and Euphrasia — Mannanam in Kottayam, Koonammavu in Ernakulam and Ollur in Thrissur—have been in a jubilant mood for several days, with the faithful thronging churches in large numbers for thanksgiving service and prayers.

“Evuprasiamma”, as she is known to the members of the local community around her convent in Ollur, brought spiritual solace to the people who approached her through prayers and wise counsel. 
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