Fr. Santiago LYONS died in Mexico City on 22 January 2017. Originally from the United States, he worked for many years in Mexico and in Guatemala. He was absolutely passionate about bringing lay men and women into the greater Mazenodian family; he worked hard at their formation and at accompanying them in living out the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod.
Fr. Santiago LYONS and Jesús Hernández Serrano
But Fr. Santiago will also be remembered as the Oblate who was instrumental in bringing to light the miracle that led to the canonization of St. Eugene de Mazenod.
When one of his parishioners in Mexico was sent home to die of cancer, Fr. Santiago rallied his parishioners to begin a novena, asking Blessed Eugene de Mazenod to intercede for Jesús Hernández Serrano, the dying parishioner. Mr. Hernandez woke up one morning of the novena with no more pain. He had indeed been cured.
Fr. Eugene CAÑAS and Fr. James FITZPATRICK
Fr. Eugene CAÑAS, at the time Assistant General, heard about it. He encouraged Fr. Santiago to gather all of the documentation needed in order to present it to the General Postulator for further study. After a visit to Mexico, Fr. Marcello ZAGO brought the documentation back to Rome. Since it was in Spanish, he asked Fr. Cañas to translate it and to give it to the General Postulator, Fr. James FITZPATRICK, who would present it to the Congregation for Causes. It was then passed on to the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s tribunal to investigate and authenticate. Once the Mexican tribunal had finished and found an authentic miracle, the case went back to the Roman Congregation for Causes to be presented to the Pope for the canonization of our Founder.
On 3 December 1995, Mr. Hernández was present in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome when Pope St. John Paul II declared Eugene de Mazenod to be a saint!
In a video of the canonization one can see Mr. Hernandez carrying a relic of the Founder to be presented to the Holy Father. Carrying candles to put next to the relic are Mr. Hernández’ wife and a very happy and proud Fr. Santiago Lyons.
If Fr. Santiago had not had such a devotion to the Founder, perhaps the canonization would not have happened when it did.