While this wasn't the post that I planned to write (and I have to rush to go get the girls ready to go to Mass), I wanted to add a quick note of explanation about Catholics and the saints (mostly because of some of the very hateful things that I stumbled across this morning when I was searching for footage of the beatification).
Catholics do not "worship the dead" when we pray to saints. We do not "elevate them to become Gods." These were just some of the many Catholic-bashing claims that were being made in colorful language (often damning all Catholics to Hell in the same breath) that had been made in the comments section of some of the videos I watched this morning.
So, from a simple layman's point of view, I thought I'd try to clarify a bit.
Basically, when a person is declared a saint the Vatican is simply saying that we know that they are in heaven (through a long process that involves miracles and the saint in questions intercession). That is what a saint is: a person who is in heaven.
Beatification is the third step along the four step process to being declared a saint.
If you have questions about praying to saints ask yourself this: have you ever asked someone to pray for you? Have ever had anyone say "I'll pray for you"?
That's exactly what we Catholics are doing when we ask for the intercession of a saint. It's not worshipping the person. It's asking the saint, who is in heaven with God and loves God dearly, to intercede for us and pray for us (or our intention) to God. Now that's not such a scary thought!
I hope you all have a blessed Divine Mercy Sunday!