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Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago

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Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago
Born November 22, 1918, Caguas, Puerto Rico,United States
Died July 13, 1963
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified April 29, 2001 by Pope John Paul II
Feast July 13

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago (November 22, 1918 – July 13, 1963) was a layperson of the Roman Catholic Church, who was beatified on April 29, 2001 and who is popularly known among Puerto Ricans as "Beato Charlie".[1]

Early years

Rodríguez Santiago, was the second of five brothers and sisters, born in Caguas, Puerto Rico to Manuel Baudilio Rodriguez and Herminia Santiago, both who came from large, Catholic families. He was baptized at the Sweet Name of Jesus Church in Caguas on May 4, 1919. Two of his sisters married, while another was a Carmelite nun. His only brother, Pepe Rodriguez was a Benedictine priest and the first Puerto Rican to become abbot of his monastery. He was a Hispanic man, who left his mark on the church

Rodríguez Santiago attended the Colegio Católico Notre Dame, located in Caguas. At the age of 12, Rodríguez Santiago saved his cousin from a dog attack and was badly wounded receiving severe bites which led to serious intestinal problems. Later, these medical problems caused him to leave his educational studies at the University of Puerto Rico prior to graduation.

Pastoral life

Rodríguez Santiago worked as an Office clerk at Caguas, and at the University of Puerto Rico Agriculture Experiment Station. He was also a translator, who converted English documents to Spanish. With his salary, he published Liturgy and Christian Culture magazines and with the help of Father McWilliams, he founded a Liturgy Circle at Caguas. He organized the chorus Te Deum Laudamus with the help of Father McGlone.[2]

Rodríguez Santiago became a Catholic lay minister. His principal apostolic work was at Catholic University Center, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico where he evangelized to students and teachers. He professed extreme devotion to the liturgy and worked to reverse the loss of liturgical customs that had been abandoned over generations. He expressed special concern over the Easter vigil, saying that it had lost its ancient character and gravitas. One of his favorite sayings about this feast was "This is the most important day of the year." This is now the motto on his tomb, which is located in the Cathedral of Caguas, Cathedral Dulce Nombre de Jesús.

Death

Rodríguez Santiago died at the age of 44 of intestinal cancer on July 13, 1963 "His passing to the eternal life was on July 13, 1963. He was 44 years old." My own translation from the Spanish of "Su paso a la vida eterna fue el 13 de julio de 1963."

Posthumous devotion

In 1981, a 42 year-old mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's malignant lymphoma. She and her husband had been friends of Rodríguez Santiago during his college years and knew of his death from cancer. She prayed to Rodríguez Santiago for intercession on her behalf. After fully recovering, she publicly attributed her recovery to the miracle of intercession.

Beatification

In 1991, a priest from Spain, Rev. P. Mario Mesa, went to Puerto Rico to conduct a seminar. After learning about Rodríguez Santiago, he was authorized by the local bishop to take the story to the Vatican. In Rome, Meza initiated the process of inquiry that could lead to canonization. As a result of the findings from this investigation, it was decided that the process to canonize Rodríguez Santiago could be started.

On July 7, 1997, Pope John Paul II decreed Charlie's heroic sanctity and service in his life. The process took a major step on April 29, 2001, when Rodríguez Santiago was beatified by Pope John Paul II.[1]

Rodríguez Santiago is the first Puerto Rican person, the first Caribbean-born layperson and the first layperson in the history of the United States to be beatified. In the entire Western Hemisphere, Rodríguez Santiago is only the second layperson to be beatified.

Candidate for sainthood

CarlosRodriguezSantiago2

Relics of Rodríguez Santiago at the Cathedral of San Juan

The probability for Rodríguez Santiago being recognized as a saint seems high, given recent changes in canon law and the popular devotion paid to him. The 1983 reform of the Catholic Church's canon law has streamlined the canonization procedure considerably compared to the process carried out previously. The new process was established by Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic constitution of January 25, 1983, Divinus Perfectionis Magister and by Pietro Cardinal Palazzini, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In order for Rodríguez Santiago to pass from Blessed to Saint, one more miracle (confirmed by the Vatican) is necessary.

Namesake

  • A school in Bayamón is named after him. The school, originally called "Escuela Superior Católica de Bayamón", was renamed in 2001: Colegio Beato Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago. Staff from the school witnessed the beatification ceremony.

Relics

Relics of Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez can be found at the Cathedrals of Caguas and San Juan. They are located in Caguas and Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez Santiago (1918-1963)". Blesseds: Table of the Beatifications during the Pontificate of His Holiness John Paul II. The Holy See. http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20010429_rodriguez-santiago_en.html. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  2. Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez Santiago

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