MONTREAL — St. Joseph’s Oratory was overflowing with pilgrims on the eve of Br. André’s canonization in Rome.
An estimated 1,500 pilgrims attended the evening mass Oct. 16, which led into a six-hour vigil of prayer, meditation, adoration and song. Every seat in the crypt church was filled for the mass; people stood in the side aisles and at the back, with the crowd spilling out into the corridor.
The prayerful and joyful assembly broke into spontaneous applause when, in his homily, Fr. Patrick Cellier, CSC, said whimsically: “I’m not sure if you know this, but tomorrow morning, Br. André will be canonized in Rome.”
Fr. Cellier expounded on the qualities of Br. André. He reminded the assembly of the soon-to-be-saint’s close friendship with God and how he would encourage his visitors to persevere in all things, especially in faith.
Yvonne Mcgrath came from St. John’s, Nfld., with her husband to participate in the events at the Oratory planned over the canonization weekend. It was the couple’s strong devotion to St. Joseph that led them to the Oratory and Br. André.
“This is really special for Canada because we now have another saint,” said Mcgrath referring Br. André. The French-Canadian brother is now becoming more well-known in Newfoundland, thanks to his canonization, she said.
Prior to the Mass, Montrealer Madeleine Cloutier Hébert shared with Salt + Light how her older brother had been healed from the Spanish flu after traveling through high snows from St. Jerome to Montreal and visiting Br. André.
“Br. André had him look at the statue of St. Joseph and he was healed. Even Br. André was impressed!” she said.
The 82-year-old said she intended to remain at the Oratory to pray throughout the night and to be present to watch the live broadcast of the canonization Mass at 4 a.m.
Throughout the course of the day, several thousand pilgrims visited the oratory, reported the sanctuary staff. The flow to Br. André’s tomb and to the very popular votive chapel has been continuous.