Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago

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Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago
CarlosRodriguezSantiago1.jpg
Born November 22, 1918
Caguas, Puerto Rico, United States
Died July 13, 1963
Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, United States
Honored in
Roman Catholic Church
Beatified April 29, 2001, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine Cathedral Dulce Nombre de Jesus, Caguas, Puerto Rico
Feast July 13 (May 4 in Puerto Rico)
Attributes Paschal candle

Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago (November 22, 1918 – July 13, 1963) was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Rodríguez was a layperson of the Roman Catholic Church, who was beatified on April 29, 2001. He is the first Puerto Rican, the first Caribbean-born layperson and the first layperson in the history of the United States to be beatified.

Early years[edit]

Rodríguez was the son of Manuel Baudilio Rodriguez and Herminia Santiago, both from large, Catholic families.[1] He was baptized at the Sweet Name of Jesus Church in Caguas on May 4, 1919. Rodríguez was the second of five brothers and sisters. Two of his sisters married, while another is a Carmelite nun. His only brother, Pepe Rodriguez is a Benedictine priest and the first Puerto Rican to become abbot of his monastery.

Charlie attended the Colegio Católico Notre Dame, located in Caguas. At the age of 12, Rodríguez saved his cousin from a dog attack. He was badly wounded in the attack, receiving severe bites which led to serious intestinal problems. Later, these medical problems caused him to leave university prior to graduation.

Pastoral life[edit]

At university, Rodríguez became a Catholic lay minister. He professed extreme devotion to the liturgy and worked to reverse the loss of liturgical customs that had been abandoned over generations. He expressed special concern over the Easter vigil, saying that it had lost its ancient character and gravitas. One of his favorite sayings about this feast was "VIVIMOS PARA ESA NOCHE" (We live for that night). This is now the motto on his tomb, which is located in the Cathedral of Caguas, Cathedral Dulce Nombre de Jesús.

Death[edit]

Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez died at the age of 44 of intestinal cancer on July 13, 1963.[1]

Posthumous devotion[edit]

In 1981, a 42 year-old mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's malignant lymphoma. She and her husband had been friends of Rodríguez during his college years and knew of his death from cancer. She prayed to Rodríguez for intercession on her behalf. After fully recovering, she publicly attributed her recovery to the miracle of intercession.

Beatification[edit]

Relics of Rodríguez Santiago at the Cathedral of San Juan

In 1991, a priest from Spain, Rev. Mauro Meza, went to Puerto Rico to conduct a seminar. After learning about Rodríguez, he was authorized by the local bishop to take the story to the Vatican. In Rome, Meza initiated the process of inquiry that could lead to canonization. As a result of the findings from this investigation, it was decided that the process to canonize Rodríguez could be started.

On July 7, 1997, Pope John Paul II decreed Charlie's heroic sanctity and service in his life. The process took a major step on April 29, 2001, when Rodríguez was beatified by Pope John Paul II.[1]

Rodríguez is the first Puerto Rican person, the first Caribbean-born layperson and the first layperson in the history of the United States to be beatified. In the entire Western Hemisphere, Rodríguez is only the second layperson to be beatified.

Candidate for sainthood[edit]

The probability for Rodríguez being recognized as a saint seems high, given recent changes in canon law and the popular devotion paid to him. The 1983 reform of the Catholic Church's canon law has streamlined the canonization procedure considerably compared to the process carried out previously. The new process was established by Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic constitution of January 25, 1983, Divinus Perfectionis Magister and by Pietro Cardinal Palazzini, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. For Rodríguez to pass from Blessed to Saint, one more miracle (confirmed by the Vatican) is necessary.

Namesake[edit]

  • A school in Bayamón is named after him, with the blessed title. The school, originally called Escuela Superior Católica de Bayamón, was renamed in 2001: Colegio Beato Carlos Manuel Rodríguez. Staff from the school witnessed the beatification ceremony.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez Santiago (1918 - 1963)". www.vatican.va. The Holy See. Retrieved 13 January 2014.