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Eucharist the key to life

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI said he hoped that, together with Lebanon’s saints, the recently beatified Capuchin Father Jacques Haddad will help bring lasting peace to this “beloved and martyred country”.

The Pope expressed his joy over the June 22 beatification of the Capuchin Franciscan priest who worked tirelessly to help the poor and the sick, regardless of nationality or religion.

At the end of his June 22 Angelus blessing in St Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict said he hoped “with all his heart that the intercession of Blessed Abouna Yaacoub (Blessed Haddad’s name in Arabic), united with Lebanon’s saints, would finally bring that beloved and martyred country that has suffered too much closer to a stable peace”.

Blessed Haddad was beatified in ceremonies in Martyrs’ Square in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins celebrated the beatification Mass with patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said the beatification was “a sign of hope in the extraordinary possibilities for this beloved country” as well as “a fascinating sign of reconciliation and peace”.

Blessed Haddad was born in 1875 in Ghazir, a Christian village north of Beirut. He opened hundreds of Capuchin schools in Lebanon, started up the Third Order Franciscans for laypeople in the country and founded the order of the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross.

He founded numerous hospitals, hospices and schools before his death in 1954.

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