INTERVIEWS ABOUT FR. PAUL'S LIFE AND LEGACY FURTHER CANONIZATION PROCESS
- In June, a Postulator from the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints came to New York to conduct interviews with those who are familiar with Servant of God Fr. Paul Wattson, SA’s, work and legacy. These interviews are part of the "Positio" stage of the canonization process, following initial research and findings being sent to Rome in Spring 2017. When the Positio stage is complete, a summary of Fr. Paul’s life and virtues will be presented to a theological commission in Rome to decide if Fr. Paul’s cause will continue towards his being declared a Venerable, Blessed, and, eventually, a Saint.
CAUSE FOR CANONIZATION OF FATHER PAUL OF GRAYMOOR, APOSTLE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY AND CHARITY, MOVES TO ROME
- On March 9, 2017, at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan, documents and artifacts illustrating the holiness of the life of Servant of God Father Paul of Graymoor, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, were sealed for shipment to Rome. This commenced the final leg of his incredible journey from Protestant Episcopal priest at Graymoor to a Catholic apostle of Christian Unity and charity and potentially becoming one of the Church’s canonized saints.
ARCHDIOCESE CLOSES CAUSE FOR ATONEMENT SOCIETY FOUNDER
- The archdiocese has officially closed an 18-month cause and submitted its work to Rome where it will be assessed whether Father Paul Wattson, S.A., should advance to the next steps necessary to become a canonized saint of the Catholic Church.
“It’s an affirmation from above we’ve come this far,” said Cardinal Dolan in opening a meeting on the matter March 9 at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan. “I’m grateful to God but I’m also grateful to all of you. I sense that we have around the table people who are passionate for their devotion to the cause. Thank you for all you’ve done to bring us to this stage of the journey.”
ARCHDIOCESE FORMALLY OPENS CAUSE FOR FATHER PAUL OF GRAYMOOR
- Timothy Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York formally opened the Cause for Canonization of Servant of God Father Paul of Graymoor on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 in New York City. The Rev. Paul Wattson, SA, (1863-1940) was founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and a champion of Christian unity and helping the poor.
The Cardinal issued a decree initiating the Cause for Canonization of Fr. Paul of Graymoor and named the various officials who will carry out the historical research, theological evaluation and the search for those who can testify to Father Paul's reputation for holiness. These individuals swore an oath of intention to faithfully fulfill their duties according to the current norms of the Church. They will periodically meet with officials of the Cause at the Chancery where progress reports will be made and future directions for the investigation will be determined. When the work is completed, the results will be presented to the Cardinal for his judgment, and there will be a formal closing ceremony of the diocesan process of the Cause. Once completed, the Archdiocese will forward its findings to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome where the second phase, often called the "Roman" phase, will take place.
The formal opening commences the lengthy diocesan investigation into the life, virtue and work of the Servant of God. There is no time frame for the completion of this project but ordinarily such investigations take a minimum of one or two years.
US CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS ENDORSE CAUSE FOR CANONIZATION OF FATHER PAUL OF GRAYMOOR
-On November 11, 2014, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops endorsed the cause for canonization of Father Paul Wattson, SA, Servant of God, "Father Paul of Graymoor", founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, at their fall meeting in Baltimore. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York sought the consultation of the American Bishops, which is the first step in the Catholic Church's canonization process.
Before their vote, the New York Archdiocese's Auxiliary Bishop John J. O'Hara described the life and ministries of Father Paul, who was born Lewis T. Wattson, the son of an Episcopal priest, and who was himself ordained in 1886. "Father Wattson saw the need for both a Franciscan spirituality in the Episcopal Church and a way to serve the poor," said Bishop O'Hara. Then, in 1909, the Society of the Atonement became the first religious community to be received corporately into the Catholic Church since the Reformation. Following Bishop O'Hara's remarks, the Bishops conducted the traditional "voice vote," which had no opposition. The Bishops' vote, required by Church norms, indicated their support for the Cause as "pastorally appropriate" for the Church at this time. The next step on the path to sainthood will be a formal opening of the cause in the Archdiocese of New York, and a Postulator will begin collecting Fr. Paul's writings, testimonies and other documents for review.