Canonizations can take years, even decades, but the process has been started for Fr. Thomas Byles, an English priest who died saving fellow passengers when the Titanic sunk on April 14, 1912.
According to an article in the Catholic Herald by Fr. Graham Smith, who petitioned the Vatican to start the canonization process, Fr. Byles was the eldest of seven who converted to Catholicism and then became a parish priest. On April 10, 1912, he boarded a ship sailing for New York, where he planned to officiate at the wedding of his younger brother, who was also a convert to Catholicism.
That ship was the Titanic. On the night of April 14, when the “unsinkable” liner struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and started to go down, Fr. Byles went to work. Refusing the seat on a lifeboat that was offered to him, he spent his remaining moments on earth hearing confessions, praying with other passengers, and helping load people into the boats.
Fr. Graham says that several people have already attributed miracles to Fr. Byles’ intercession.
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