|Father Franz Stock, center, is pictured with Archbishop Angelo Roncalli |
the future Pope John XXIII – at a German prisoner of war camp, Sept. 18, 1945.
Report on case sent to Rome in sainthood investigation of German Father Franz Stock
The photograph and following excerpt is from the website of Catholic San Francisco:
By Valerie Schmalz
If the Vatican authenticates the 1997 healing of an East Bay man diagnosed with incurable gastric cancer days before his wedding, then the Catholic Church will beatify Father Franz Stock, a German Army chaplain to Paris prisoners of the Nazis.
Father Stock was “the last human face” hundreds, perhaps thousands, saw before their execution.
He is a symbol of reconciliation in France and Germany, where streets and schools are named for him and national leaders have honored him. A French postage stamp commemorating Father Stock was issued in 1998 for the 50th anniversary of his death from pulmonary edema on Feb. 24, 1948, at age 43.
The Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of San Francisco investigated the 1997 medical case and sent its report to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints on March 16. If the Vatican authenticates the miracle, Father Stock would be declared blessed. He would be canonized if a second miracle is verified.
Three months after doctors said a 33-year-old East Bay resident had at most three months to live, he was declared cancer-free in October 1997. Medical tests continue to show no traces of cancer.
“The doctors were flabbergasted because he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and they sent him home to get his affairs in order and die,” said Robert Graffio, canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of San Francisco and notary for the investigation.
The man married his fiance a couple of weeks later than they had planned. The couple has two children, 7 and 9.
“This is yet another assurance that the Lord is with us still, to this day, working miracles in our midst,” said Msgr. Michael Padazinski, chancellor and judicial vicar in the Archdiocese of San Francisco who oversaw the investigation as episcopal delegate.
The man who recovered unexpectedly became the object of prayers to Father Stock through family members who knew of the priest’s story.
A Franciscan priest who wrote the only English-language biography of Father Stock was pastor of a New Jersey parish where the stricken bridegroom’s older brother, his wife and children attended Mass. When Mary G. – her full name is withheld by request – called to place her brother-in-law on the parish prayer list in 1997, Franciscan Father Boniface Hanley said, “Pray, pray to Father Franz Stock,” she said, and made up a holy card for them to use.
“We kept praying the whole time. He had his whole stomach removed. He had lymph nodes that were positive,” said Mary G., who as a nurse cared for her brother-in-law as he recovered instead of dying. “It’s 15 years later and he is still cancer free.”
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