Pope Francis to canonize 'father of migrants'

Known as the "father of migrants," the bishop was a vocal advocate for migrant protections to prevent human trafficking.

Updated: October 7, 2022 - 3:55pm

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Pope Francis will reportedly canonize Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, a 19th century bishop who advocated for migrant rights during a period of European emigration the United States.

The canonization will take place on Sunday, Oct. 9, Religious News Service reported. Scalabrini served as bishop of Piacenza from 1876-1905. His tenure immediately followed the unification of Italy.

Known as the "father of migrants," the bishop was a vocal advocate for migrant protections to prevent human trafficking, according to The Hill. Pope Francis himself has long been an advocate for migrants worldwide.

Rev. Graziano Battistella, an advocate of Scalabrini's elevation, announced the decision at a Thursday press conference.

"The Holy Father introduces us to a bishop who was capable of not just fully and capably managing his diocese, but was able to look beyond," he said of the soon-to-be saint, per RNS.

Pope John Paul II beatified Scalabrini in 1997 and assigned his feast day as June 1, the day on which he died, according to the Missionari di San Carlo Scalabriniani. Beatification is the preceding milestone a candidate must reach on the road to achieve full recognition as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

Beatified individuals are referred to as "Blessed" and the church officially recognizes their place in Heaven.