The Patriarch Estephan Douaihy Foundation has announced that Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will visit Ehden on Monday, 23rd June 2008.
The Cardinal is visiting Lebanon to attend the beatification ceremony of Fr Jacques Haddad (1875-1954), who was the founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross (1933) and of numerous hospitals, hospices, and schools. In 1975 Fr. Haddad set up a hospital in Zgharta. The Father died in 1954 and was declared Venerable in 1992.
The ceremony takes place at Martyrs Square, Beirut on Sunday, 22nd June 2008 at 10 a.m. The Maronite Patriarch, Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Cardinal Sfeir will concelebrate at the ceremony. In terms of church hierarchy and precedence Cardinals are appointed as either Cardinal Bishop, Cardinal Priest or Cardinal Deacon. Patriarch Sfeir was created Cardinal Bishop in 1994 and Cardinal Martins was created Cardinal Deacon in 2001.
Members of the Patriarchal Diocese of Ehden Zgharta and of the Diocese of Tripoli will attend the ceremony.
It appears that contrary to expectations, Patriarch Douaihy will not be declared venerable this month. His cause has only reached the stage where his candidacy was approved this week by the Cardinals of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who have recommended to Pope Benedict XVI that he be declared, Venerable. It is not known when the Pope will do so.
In July the Patriarch will be meeting the Pope in Australia, when he will be attending, Marionite 08, as part of World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) in Sydney. The Patriarch will officiate at an outdoor Mass at the Parramatta Stadium on Sunday 13th July 2008.
To be made venerable, the candidate must be declared by a proclamation approved by the Pope of having lived a life that was "heroic in virtue" - the virtues being the Theological Virtues of faith, hope and charity and the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.
Candidates for canonisation are declared in turn Servant of God; Venerable; Blessed; Saint. Therefore it seems that the time frame for the eventual canonisation of Patriarch Douaihy is some time away.
The Lebanese newspaper, Al Anwar, reports today on the visit which can be read from here