La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW) ----- The Diocese of La Crosse wants to have one of their former priests declared a saint.
Bishop William Callahan believes Father Joseph Walijewski qualifies for Beatification and Canonization. Part of the process requires evidence that he performed at least two miracles.
No one disputes the fact that Father Joe performed miracles. There is proof all around at the Casa Hogar orphanage in Peru where he served for over 40 years. They'll have to prove that to the Vatican through a lengthy process.
Father Joe Walijewski made it his mission to help homeless children and Bishop Callahan is making it his to get Father Joe to Sainthood. Bishop Callahan didn't know the priest but came to understand him at the 5th anniversary of his death. "I was so moved mostly by the children who walked to the tomb of Father Joe, each of them carrying a candle."
And that's when it occurred to him that Father Joe sacrificed everything to leave the United States and work among the poorest of the poor in an orphanage in Peru. I was amazed because here we were so you look right out one way to the beauty of God's creation and then you look out the other way to what Father Joe worked with and came to minister to that's why local church goers and church leaders are making their official declaration of saint hood for Father Joe by tacking an edict to the door of the church.
Father Joseph Grassl was ordained with Father Joe in 1950. "I remember that he was indeed a very humble person who was with common people and always was always into 'get this done or get that done'."
The Bishop says all gathered here today believe that Father Joe had saintly ways and he's optimistic they'll have no trouble convincing the Vatican. "We have a Pope from Latin America which is going to stir the hearts of the people of Latin America where we minister in Father Joe Walijewski's name."
Once the case goes to the Vatican, nine theologians judge whether it has merit, and if so, they offer it to the Bishops and Cardinals who work in the congregation. If they both approve, the case is given to the Pope for his personal decision.
There are believed to be some ten thousand saints as honored by the Catholic Church over its two thousand year history.