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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington-born priest may be declared a saint in the coming years. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh recently announced it will begin the process to canonize Father Thomas Price. But what does it take to be acknowledged as a saint?

On June 20, 1886, Wilmington-born Thomas Price became the first North Carolina native ordained a Catholic priest. The ordination took place, interestingly enough, at the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, now known as St. Thomas Preservation Hall.

The man who could become the next St. Thomas began his priestly work here in the Port City, later working in Asheville, New Bern and Raleigh, where he set up an orphanage. Father Price also co-founded Maryknoll Fathers, a foreign mission society.

“His efforts in North Carolina not only didn’t overwhelm him, but they inspired him to do more,” said Rev. James F. Garneau. “He thought it was time that the United States, the American Catholic Church, would have a missionary effort that would even go overseas.”

Father Garneau of Mount Olive is one of the church leaders who is heading the effort for father price’s sainthood. Garneau says the formal process, which begins March 9, will not be a quick one. First a tribunal will study the life, virtues and reputation for sanctity of Father Price. Then the church will see if there are miracles that people believe were given through the inception of father price.

“If a miracle were confirmed, then the Holy Father (Pope Benedict XVI) might choose to take that as the occasion to declare him among the blessed,” Father Garneau said. “If after that there were to be another miracle, then the Holy Father can choose to declare him a saint.”

Though the process will take a lot of time, effort and hardwork, Father Garneau says Father Price is more than deserving of the opportunity to be considered a saint.

“I think he is a fascinating figure,” Father Garneau said. “Catholics have known about him and his work for generations. I think that kind of living example of the gospel, of faithful following, discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ is always exciting. It is always brimming with interest because it wakes us up. To imagine that god is doing that in eastern North Carolina, I think, would be a great encouragement to christians through out eastern North Carolina.”

Father Garneau says there is no telling how long the process toward sainthood might take. He said it could happen in our lifetime, or it can happen generations down the road.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest Lee

    According to the bible, every Christian is a saint. All it takes to be a saint is to be loved by God and sanctified in Christ Jesus. It doesn’t require miracles or stigmata. It just requires faith and sanctification.

  • Guest Kevin

    Obviously your version of the Sacred Scripture does not include Matt. 7:21. Your fallible interpretation of Sacred Scripture is in error. Please do not lead people astray from the teachings of the one true Church founded by Christ himself. We all strive to be saints, however, it is not forced and if we choose to reject God, he allows us to. A recognized saint is held up as a model for all christians to pattern their lives after. By the way, the stigmata is not recognized as an advantage in the cause for beatification.

  • Guest Lee

    The word “saint” comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious.” It’s almost always used in the plural, “saints.”

    The idea of the word “saints” is a group of people set apart for the Lord and His kingdom. There are three references referring to godly character of saints: “that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints …” (Romans 16:2). “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3).

    Scripturally speaking, the “saints” are the body of Christ, Christians, the church. All Christians are considered saints. All Christian are saints—and at the same time are called to be saints. First Corinthians 1:2 says it clearly: “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…” The words “sanctified” and “holy” come from the same Greek root as the word that is commonly translated “saints.” Christians are saints by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ. Christians are called to be saints, to increasingly allow their daily life to more closely match their position in Christ. This is the biblical description and calling of the saints.

    In Roman Catholic theology, the saints are in heaven. In the Bible, the saints are on earth. In Roman Catholic teaching, a person does not become a saint unless he/she is “beatified” or “canonized” by the Pope or prominent bishop. In the Bible, everyone who has received Jesus Christ by faith is a saint. In Roman Catholic practice, the saints are revered, prayed to, and in some instances, worshipped. In the Bible, saints are called to revere, worship, and pray to God alone.

    I have nothing against Roman Catholics. I just believe the Bible over any religious denomination.

  • Dans

    You apparently do not understand Catholic beliefs as well as you think you do. With further research, you’d find that your 4th paragraph is setting up a false dichotomy as well as promoting error. In Catholic practice, there is no worship of saints. In Catholic theology, the saints are on earth. In Catholic theology, a person becomes a saint by becoming a member of the Body of Christ (the Church). Check out the Catholic encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm

  • Das Weibstück

    ….Catholics think everyone else’s beliefs are wrong, go figure. This group of “christian’s” have a very violent past and a bunch of perverted priests. It is a huge pyramid scheme making billions off the backs of the weak minded.

  • Guest Lee

    Excuse me, but if you pray to a saint, you’re worshipping a saint.

    If you believe “saints are on earth”, as you stated in your post, why do Catholics pray to dead saints (St. Christopher, St. Therese, St. Prius I, V, and X)? They aren’t on earth. I know that Catholics pray to saints because I have spoken to several who have prayed and said that they received a healing from them.

    If “in Catholic theology, a person becomes a saint by becoming a member of the Body of Christ (the Church)”, then why bother cannonizing a saint? Why declare someone a saint if they already are one?

    Please understand, I’m not meaning this as an attack on Catholics, but I’m simply trying to understand your post, which is contrary to what I have read and spoken to other people about. I don’t have the time right now to read the whole Catholic encyclopedia. Can’t you just respond in your own words to my specific questions in this post? I would appreciate your response.

  • Guest Lee

    There are over 10,000 saints that have been canonized by the Catholic church.

    Catholics pray to the saints. If there is no worship of saints, and if saints are “on earth”, why canonize certain people (if they all are saints in Christ)?

    I’m curious about this myself.

  • guesty

    It seems just earlier today you were bashing somebody for replying twice to a comment and now you have done the same. Now do you see how it can happen?


  • Guest 198

    Excerpts of an article written by non-Catholic Sam Miller – a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman:

    “Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States , namely the Catholic Church?

    Do you know – the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.

    The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students.

    The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people – not just Catholics – in the United States today

    But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as
    blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.

    Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church , 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior;
    17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed.

    Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem.

    A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of
    all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

    The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.

    Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States .

    Then remember what Jeremiah said: ‘Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls’. Be proud to speak up for your faith with
    pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions.

    Be proud that you’re a Catholic.”

  • Guest2020

    I’m sorry but as a non-Romanist Christian I was taught to model my life after Jesus Christ, who is God himself. I worship God and I worship no man. I pray to God. I pray to no man. I obey the will of God and His Word is law, not any man’s.

  • GiveMeABreak

    Please tell me where in Christ’s teachings that we are to uphold men in such high regard. Please tell me where the Bible says to pray to anyone except for Jesus. Please tell me where in the Bible it says to pray to Mary. Also, if we are going to go by the teachings of Christ, tell me where He says that we only get absolution from a priest. Where does it talk about going to purgatory. Where does it say that we can go out an commit all manner of sin as long as we make a confession to a priest? Where does it say that we can work our way to Heaven? Where does it say that we are to worship the Pope?

    And if we are going to get into who is right and who is wrong about the teachings of Christ, please tell me where he says that it is okay for a priest to molest boys and not be held accountable for it.



  • anne

    Just a question. Why go through all this trouble? The man is dead. If he knew Jesus as his savior, he is in Heaven. If he didn’t, he is in hell. What good does it do to spend all this money and time to try to get him sainthood. When all is said and done, it means nothing.


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