of the Apostle of Upper Egypt
says Gregorios III
On Friday 7 August 2015, at the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Cairo, HB Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, presided over the solemn opening of the cause for beatification and canonisation of Boutros Wadih Kassab (1913-86), the apostle of Upper Egypt.
“It gives us great joy to open the process of the cause for beatification and canonisation of Boutros Wadih Kassab, a great Christian layman deeply committed to his faith, which led him to found and work for very many Catholic associations dedicated to serving young people. This was the lynchpin of his life and life-long commitment… not to mention his involvement, on the one hand, in the Saint Vincent de Paul Society that illuminated his Christian life and which he chaired for very many years, and on the other, his commitment to the institutions particular to his Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Cairo, such as its Upper Council…
“We have read and studied with great interest the testimonies of French and Egyptian Melkite Christians and Muslims describing meetings with Boutros Kassab… Despite their different backgrounds, they all testify to Boutros Kassab’s readiness to serve or lead any spiritual, ecumenical and ecclesial commitment to youth service. … There can be no doubt that he was the most influential lay-person in the Church in Egypt… as he always used to say, `Working in the Catholic Youth Association is my whole life!`
“He was the apostle of Upper Egypt and Port Said as well as the apostle of youth, an everyday example of a committed lay-person living out his faith, rooted in Gospel values. The cause of Boutros Wadih Kassab’s beatification and canonisation will be a long, slow ecclesial process requiring a great deal of precision. Yet without prejudging Church decisions, we can already say with the psalmist, `God is wonderful in his saints,` and with Our Lady, `He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name!` We ask her intercession and blessing for this cause that we are opening today.
“The Eastern Churches have given the Catholic Church great saints like Saints Sharbel and Rafqa. More recently still, our Church gave two women saints whose example and charism are guides for every one of us: Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mary the Arab) and Saint Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas. May these saints grant our Churches and faithful the ability to realise the dream of every person created in the image of God of being holy, thus fulfilling the commandment of Our Lord Jesus Christ, `Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect!`”