Brother André was declared blessed by Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982 before 30,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's square.
The ceremony began at 9:30am when the choir intoned the
followed by the ceremonial procession out of the main door of St. Peter's Basilica. The arrival of the Holy Father provoked a first round of applause from the faithful present.
the Kyrie, the Pope declared five venerable candidate as Blessed among whom
was André Bessette whose feast day could be observed on January 6.
In his homily, the Pope said of Blessed André: "A
daily crowd of the sick, the afflicted, the poor of all kinds - those who
were handicapped or wounded by life - came to him. They found in his presence
a welcome ear, comfort and faith in God. Do not the poor of today have as
much need of such love, of such hope, of such education in prayer?"
Among the gifts presented to Pope Paul was an elaborate arrangement of lilies, a reminder of Brother André devotion to St. Joseph. The lily symbolizes purity of life associated with Joseph chosen by God for his virginal spouse to become the foster father of Jesus.
The pope was also offered a richly bound biography of Brother André by Canon Etienne Catta. Inserted in the cover was a bronze cast medallion featuring Brother André on one side and St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal on the reverse side (similar to the one you see below) along with the dedication: TO HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II, MAY 23rd, 1982.
What does it mean to be declared "Blessed"?
This means that God's face now shines upon Brother André's life as the sun which shines upon the a blossom of a spring tree; that while on earth he lived a life of faith, hope and charity worthy of imitation. That Brother André in the light of glory now turns his gaze upon God who hears him more than ever pleading for our needs in this earthly life.