Hat tip to Deacon Greg on this one!
A Catholic priest buried at the Jesuit Center at Wernersville cleared the first hurdle on the road to sainthood Monday, the Allentown Diocese announced.
The Rev. Walter J. Ciszek, a native of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County, attended St. Casimir’s Roman Catholic Church and school in Shenandoah before becoming a celebrated Jesuit priest who was held in a Russian prison for 15 years. He died in 1984.
Since 1989, after a mandatory five-year waiting period, his life has been under investigation by church officials both in the diocese and at the Vatican.
After a decade-long investigation, Ciszek’s life story in writings, sermons and actions was packed in wooden crates and shipped in 2006 to Rome for examination by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
There are still two steps, veneration and beatification, that must be completed before Ciszek is canonized a saint.
“This is exciting because it is one of our local boys making good,” said Monsignor Donald Bocian, president of the Father Walter J. Ciszek Prayer League and pastor of St. Casimir’s Church.
“But it is a very long process,” Bocian said. “I was told it could happen very quickly. I was also told the next of two steps could take three to four years.”
Ciszek was a member of the first class of Jesuits at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Joques in Lower Heidelberg Township, now known as the Jesuit Center at Wernersville. He is buried there and was nominated for sainthood in 1989.
“This breakthrough in the process is very encouraging and a testimony to the commitment and dedication of all those involved,” Allentown Bishop John O. Barres said.