ORLANDO | Lay Catholics and clergy researched, chronicled and verified a piece of Florida’s Catholic history from more than three centuries ago in hopes it will become a piece of Catholic history for the universal church.
And eight years after this process officially began, a Mass marked the affirming, signing and sealing of documentation of Antonio Inija and the 57 companions to be delivered to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in Rome for consideration of canonization.
These two banners represent the Native American martyrs, left, and the Domincan martyrs, right, who perished in North Florida and died for their faith. The banners were on display during the the closing of the diocesan phase of the cause for canonization of Antonio Inija and the 57 companions Oct. 12, 2023 in Tallahassee.
Three sealed packages house the more than 2,700 documents from the historical commission and tribunal are ready to be escorted by Msgr. Michael Reed, chancellor of the Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese, to be delivered to Rome to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.
On this table are the seals to be used by the vice-postulators, notary, episcopal delegates, promotor of justices, and bishop of competency. Each member of the commissions for the cause of canonization for Antonio Inija and the 57 companions sign and seal documentation that will be sent to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in Rome.
Father Len Plazewski signs documents affirming he carried out his responsibilities true and correct as vice-postulator of the canonization cause of Antonio Inija and the 57 companions.
Lynn Mangan, a vice postulator for the cause of canonization of Antonio Inija and 57 companions, gleefully signs documents affirming the truth and accuracy of documentation. In 2012, Mangan, along with the late Heather Jordan, successfully pleaded with Bishop Gregory Parkes to pick up the cause that had been started and stopped several times before.
Father Maurice Henry Sands, left, takes the oath affirming he carried out his responsibilities true and correct as vice-postulator of the canonization cause of Antonio Inija and the 57 companions with Father Timothy Lindenfelser, pastor of St. Anastasia Parish in St. Augustine. Father Sands, director of the National Black and Indian Mission Office in Washington, D.C., is a native indigenous person in Canada and United States.
Bishop Erik Polhmeier of St. Augustine, left, Bishop Emeritus Robert Baker of Birmingham, Alabama, Bishop Gregory Parkes of St. Petersburg and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami participate in Mass in Tallahassee Oct. 12, 2023, marking the end of the diocesan phase of the cause for canonization of Antonio Inija and the 57 companions. Nine U.S. dioceses united for the cause of the martyrs who include indigenous peoples and religious clergy.
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