Pope names 3 new saints, man disrupts Mass

October 25, 2011 - 12:18 PM
Vatican Pope Saints

An unidentified man holds a copy of the Holy Bible as he stands on the edge of the colonnade that surrounds St. Peter's square at the Vatican, during a beatification Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. Vatican gendarmes, a bishop and the pope's own bodyguard eventually talked the man down from the upper reaches of the colonnade after he shouted,

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI named three new saints for the Catholic Church during Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square that was disrupted by a man who climbed out onto the upper colonnade and burned a bible.

Vatican gendarmes, a bishop and the pope's own bodyguard talked the man back from the edge of the colonnade after he shouted, "Pope, where is Christ?" in English and threw the burned bible to the crowd below.

Benedict and the thousands in the square appeared unfazed by the incident and carried on with the Mass.

The disruption came toward the end of the two-hour service Sunday to canonize three 19th-century founders of religious orders: Italian bishop and missionary Monsignor Guido Maria Conforti, Spanish nun Sister Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro and an Italian priest who worked with the poor, the Rev. Luigi Guanella.

On hand in the crowd was William Glisson Jr., from the Philadelphia area in the U.S., whose cure from a 2002 head injury was declared the miracle needed to canonize Guanella.

Glisson, then 21, had gone into a coma after falling while in-line skating without a helmet; he had two brain surgeries but his doctors didn't give him much hope, according to Guanella's biography. A friend of the family who worked at a Guanella center for the handicapped gave Glisson and his mother two of Guanella's relics, and the family prayed fervently to the Italian priest.

After nine days, Glisson came out of the coma and today works in the family construction supply business.