Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack to Lead Pilgrimage for Brother André’s Canonization

Bishop John B. McCormack is inviting New Hampshire Catholics to join him on a pilgrimage to Rome and other Italian holy sites from October 15-25 in celebration of the canonization of Blessed Brother André Bessette.

Pope Benedict XVI recently announced that Blessed Brother André will be formally declared a saint at a ceremony in Saint Peter’s Square on October 17, 2010.

The pilgrimage will be organized by Canterbury Tours of Bedford, NH. It will also include visits to other Italian holy sites in Rome, Assisi, and Siena.

Rooted in his devotion to St. Joseph, and motivated by his compassion, Brother André Bessette dedicated his life to comforting those in greatest need.  During his lifetime he became popularly known for encouraging the sick and infirm to pray to St. Joseph to intervene on their behalf. Many claimed they were cured thanks to these prayers. Brother André died in 1937, at the age of 91.

Many New Hampshire Catholics, particularly those of French Canadian descent have taken pilgrimages to Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, a shrine built under the guidance of Brother André beginning in 1904 and continuing after his death until its completion in 1967. Today, it is the most popular shrine to St. Joseph in the world.

Bishop McCormack said, “Brother André was a holy man whose love of God and devotion to St. Joseph, our own diocese’s patron saint, continues to be an inspiration to millions of people. In reflecting on him, Pope John Paul II said, ‘In each age the Holy Spirit raises up such humble witnesses of the Gospel.’ Brother André was a man of his age, who carried forward Christ’s message of love.”


Argent, on a Cross of Gules, a sheaf of five arrows, a staff surmounted by a lily, all of the first.

The coat of arms of the Diocese of Manchester. The arms are composed of a silver (white) field upon which is displayed a red cross of the Chirstian faith. In the center is a sheaf of five arrows, an emblem taken from the seal of the “Colony of New Hampshire,” adopted in 1776. The five arrows denote the then five counties bound together in a strong union. The staff in the midst of the arrows is the symbol of Saint Joseph, titular of the Cathedral-Church in the See in Manchester.

(Description from the book, Upon This Granite, Catholicism in New Hampshire 1647-1997 by Wilfrid H. Paradis.)