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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 October 2005, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Pope Benedict names first saints
Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican
Benedict XVI has been pope for less than a year
Pope Benedict XVI has presided over the first saint-making ceremony of his papacy, canonising five people during a mass at the Vatican.

The new saints are a Chilean Jesuit priest, two prelates from Ukraine, and a Capuchin friar and the founder of a holy order - both from Italy.

The Pope's predecessor, John Paul II, made 482 people saints - more than had been canonised in the last 500 years.

Sunday's mass also ended a meeting of the world's bishops, known as a synod.

The synod - the first conducted by Pope Benedict XVI - has been discussing some of the challenges facing the Roman Catholic church, such as the shortage of priests.

The three-week meeting concluded with the bishops reaffirming the principle of keeping the clergy celibate.

The synod also released a letter expressing regret that four Chinese bishops invited to the synod had been stopped from attending by the authorities in Beijing.

Good works

The new saints include the Reverend Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, a Jesuit from Chile who died in 1952 after a lifetime working with the young and the poor.

Josef Bilczewski, who was archbishop of the Ukrainian town of Lviv during World War I, has also been canonised.

Another former prelate from Lviv, Reverend Zygmunt Gorazdowski, has been made a saint for his work with the sick and the poor.

The 18th-Century Italian Capuchin friar, Felice da Nicosia, and the Reverend Gaetano Cantanoso, founder of a holy order in 1934, are the other two new saints.

The five people named as saints on Sunday had already been approved for eventual canonisation by the former pope.

Pope John Paul is the only candidate for future sainthood put forward by his successor - the reigning pontiff.




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