Kateri Tekakwitha among seven new saints celebrated by crowd of 80,000 in St Peter's Square
In his homily, Benedict praised each of the seven as heroic and courageous examples for the church, calling Kateri an inspiration to indigenous faithful across North America. "May the witness of these new saints … speak today to the whole church, and may their intercession strengthen and sustain her in her mission to proclaim the gospel to the whole world," he said.
The celebrations began at dawn, with Native Americans in beaded and feathered headdresses and leather-fringed tunics singing songs to the beat of drums. Later, the crowds cheered as the pope read out the names of each of the new saints in Latin and declared that they were worthy of veneration by the entire church. Prayers were read out in Mohawk and Cebuano, the dialect of another saint, Pedro Calungsod, a 17th-century Filipino teenage martyr, and in English by a nun wearing a lei.
"It's so nice to see God showing all the flavours of the world," said Gene Caldwell, a Native American member of the Menominee reservation in Neopit, Wisconsin, who attended with his wife, Linda. "The Native Americans are enthralled" to have Kateri canonised, he said.
Pope Canonizes 7 Saints, Including 2 Women With New York Ties
Comment: For more on Kateri Tekakwitha, see Indians Attend Vatican Canonization and Americans, Canadians Spar Over Kateri.