On Monday, Missionaries of the Precious Blood will travel to Naples, where documents pertaining to the possible beatification of the Venerable John Merlini, C.PP.S., will be passed on to Sr. Nicla Spezzati, ASC, the postulator of his cause.
The tribunal in Naples has concluded its review of the testimony of witnesses about a possible miracle that was worked through the intercession of Fr. Merlini. At this point in the process, the tribunal does not reveal its findings to anyone, including the Missionaries and the ASC sisters, who are working together on the cause.
During a ceremony on Monday, the documents will be presented in a sealed box to Sr. Nicla, who will then transport them to the Vatican. There, it will be opened in secrecy by the Congregation of Saints, who will review the documents then pass them along to a commission of seven doctors. The doctors will study the case to determine if (in their opinion) a medical miracle occurred. At least five of seven must vote in favor for the case to continue on to a second commission made up of theologians, who will also review the case. If the theologians approve it, Fr. Merlini’s case goes on to the bishops, cardinals and ultimately Pope Francis, who will decide if and when Fr. Merlini will be beatified.
The process has no set timeline, and the Missionaries and the ASC sisters will receive no further information until a final decision is made, said Fr. Emanuele Lupi, C.PP.S., the vice moderator general and the vice postulator of Fr. Merlini’s cause. “This is a time for prayer and waiting,” he said. “It is the universal Church that will be doing the discernment, and we want to accompany that process with our prayer. We want to continue to talk about Fr. Merlini and the example he set for us, and we want to continue to pray—but none of us can really talk about the process. The only judgment will come from the Church.”
Fr. Merlini (1795-1873) was the third moderator general of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and was an inspirational figure to the ASC sisters. His life of faith and commitment to the Congregation is a great example of everyday holiness, Fr. Lupi said “The secret of the holiness of Merlini is that he was a regular person. What he can teach us is that it is possible to be holy in our regular ordinary lives. We can make extraordinary all the ordinary things that we do every day.”