The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, today released the following statement in response to the news that Padre Kino’s cause of canonization is moving forward with the declaration that he is Venerable:
“It was with great joy that we received the news that on Friday, July 10, Pope Francis approved the advancement of Father Eusebio Kino to the status of Venerable.
The history of the Catholic Church in Arizona is synonymous with the growth and history of the State of Arizona, and Padre Kino is one of the foundational figures in that great history.
As a faithful member of the Society of Jesus and a missionary priest, Padre Kino was a tireless advocate for the native peoples of the Southwest. He devoted tremendous energy to meeting their spiritual and temporal needs, founding 21 missions and numerous native-run rancheros, and willingly sharing in the poverty and hardships of those he served. He remains a wonderful example of the mission of the Church lived in solidarity with the poor and marginalized.
As an explorer and a man of science, Padre Kino introduced cattle ranching and advanced agricultural techniques to the Southwest and mapped vast regions of northern Mexico and modern-day Arizona. His unique combination of missionary zeal, scientific knowledge and practical wisdom is a beautiful illustration of the fruitful union of faith and reason.
We remember with gratitude Padre Kino’s singular contributions to the founding and building up of the Church in the Sonoran Desert. Through the intercession of Venerable Eusebio Francis Kino, may we treasure and live faithfully the rich heritage of our Faith. Like the Catholic missionaries, let us make a commitment to living as true disciples of Jesus Christ, passing on to future generations the Faith which has become an essential part of our culture and history here in Arizona.”