The celebration of 12 March 1622 was a novelty in the history of the
Catholic Church. It was the first collective canonization. Until then only
individual saints had been canonized. In St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Gregory XV
proclaimed the holiness of Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the
Jesuits; Francis Xavier (1506-1552), a missionary and one of Ignatius' earliest
companions; Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582), a religious and mystic, founder of the
Discalced Carmelite nuns and friars; Philip Neri (1515-1595), priest, founder
of the Oratorians; and Isidore the Laborer (1079-1172), the only layman of the
group and patron saint of Madrid, whose canonization, supported by the king of
Spain, was the first to be decided. With that ceremony, the pontiff of the time
recognised the key role assumed by the new religious orders in evangelization.
Concelebrating with Pope Francis will be, among others, the Archbishop
of Madrid, Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, and the superiors of the religious orders
involved: Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ (Jesuits), Fr. Miguel Márquez Calle, OCD
(Discalced Carmelites), Fr. Mìceàl O'Neill, OCarm (Carmelites), and Fr.
Michele Nicolis, CO (Oratorians).
Church of the Gesù (its full name is the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus all’Argentina) is the mother church of
the Society of Jesus. It houses the tomb of St Ignatius of Loyola. Pope Francis
already celebrated mass there on 31 July 2013, on the feast of St Ignatius. He returned
on 3 January 2014 to preside at mass to commemorate the Most Holy Name of
Jesus, the titular feast of the Society of Jesus, and in thanksgiving for the
canonization of the first Jesuit priest, Peter Favre. The liturgical
celebration on 12 March, which will take place on Saturday starting at 5pm
(UTC+1), will follow the liturgy of the second Sunday of Lent.