I knelt at the gravesite while bowing my head and closing my eyes to pray yesterday morning. I was visiting Calvary Cemetery of West Conshohocken, the burial site for Father William E Atkinson, an Augustinian priest who passed away in 2006 and is now being considered for canonization by the Catholic Church to be named a saint.
I prayed for the Philadelphia area holy man to intercede with mystic powers to aid in the struggle Joe Biden, the second Catholic president of the United, is facing to build America back better. Yes, I asked for help from above for what may only become possible by a miracle.
All politics aside, I decided to drive the three miles from my home to the gravesite after learning how Father Atkinson was an Augustinian novice at 19 years old when he became the first quadriplegic to be ordained a priest. He was paralyzed from a near-fatal toboggan accident, but his disability never prevented him from becoming a teacher and a faculty member of Monsignor Bonner High School in Upper Darby.
The canonization process began in 2015 and the Philadelphia Archdiocese has been investigating the matter to make a presentation this month. A ceremony for the process will be held on October 19 at 6:30 pm in the church of St. Thomas of Villanova, located on the Villanova University campus. Archbishop Nelson Perez will eventually send the research to the Vatican, where Pope Francis will ultimately decide on sainthood.
Father Atkinson served not only as a teacher but was assistant school chaplain, moderator of the football team, and director of a detention program called “JUG,” which stood for “Justice Under God.” (I became quite familiar with a similar detention program while attending Bishop Neumann High School and learned you could get two days worth of detention knocked off if you knelt for one hour rather than sit in a chair. I got 20 days detention once for playing hookie.)
The archdiocese’s investigation will include an examination of Father Atkinson’s virtuous life and “reputation for sanctity,” according to sources. Both the local group and the Vatican will evaluate possible miracles attributed to Father Atkinson’s intercession. Several people have already testified to such actions ascribed to the holy man.
I feel part of a miracle may have already taken place as a result of my prayer. Last night members of the Senate from both political parties agreed to a short-term debt ceiling increase to prevent a government standoff.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart Father Atkinson!
(For more detailed information, please see the report by Catholic Philly.com)