POPE FRANCIS has advanced the cause for sainthood of Argentine Cardinal Eduardo Francisco Pironio, who helped establish the first World Youth Day celebrations.  

On Feb. 18, the Pope authorized the promulgation of the heroic virtues of Pironio through a decree by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which elevated his status from “Servant of God” to “Venerable.”

In 1994, UST conferred an honorary doctorate in sacred theology on Pironio. 

Pironio was born in Nueve de Julio, Argentina on Dec. 3, 1920 and was ordained priest in 1943. 

Pope Paul VI appointed him auxiliary bishop of La Plata in 1964 and bishop of Mar del Plata in 1972. Pironio was elevated to cardinal in 1976. 

As cardinal, Pironio participated in the conclaves—an assembly of cardinals at the Vatican followed by the papal election—that elected John Paul I and John Paul II.

In 1984, Pope John Paul II named him president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in which he helped promote the first World Youth Day events: Rome in 1986, Buenos Aires in 1987, Spain in 1989, Poland in 1991, Denver in 1993, and the Philippines in 1995. 

The late prelate also served as prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life. 

Pironio died on Feb. 5, 1998 of bone cancer and is buried at the shrine of Our Lady of Lujan in Argentina. 

His cause for beatification was formally opened on June 23, 2006. 

Candidates for sainthood require two miracles attributed to their intercession. On the approval of the authenticity of the first miracle, he or she is beatified or named “Blessed.” Canonization requires a second miracle.


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