History of the Cause

The cause of Joseph Vaz began two years after his death. The Bishop of Cochin (South India) decided to initiate the informative process by the end of 1713. Unfortunately, the unexpected death of the Bishop brought this initiative to an abrupt end. His successors did not show interest in the cause. Within a short period, the Church in Ceylon, as it was then called, was plunged into nearly a century of persecution. The Oratory, of which Blessed Joseph Vaz had been a member, was suppressed. The non-fulfillment of certain essential formalities led Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) to cancel the proceedings. It was only in 1892 that the name of Joseph Vaz came once more into the spotlight. During all the years of persecution, the ordinary Catholic people of Sri Lanka persevered in their recognition of and devotion for their “Apostle”. During his lifetime, there were many known cases of effective intercession. After his death, the people, with equal confidence, called on him as their mediator. The living story of his intercession is a striking fact of the Sri Lankan Church. Even though written records are missing, the conviction and reality of his “fama signorum” is engraved clearly in the faith of generations of the Catholic populace of Sri Lanka.

From 1928 onwards, the Archbishops of Goa tried to re-institute the proceedings. The diocesan process stared in 1938. In 1953, the process was sealed and sent from Goa to Rome. After 20 years, the cause was taken again up by the Episcopal Conference of Sri Lanka at the insistence of the Archbishop of Colombo and of the President of that Conference, Cardinal Thomas B. Cooray O.M.I. (1901-1988). A monumental “Positio Super Virtutibus” was compiled in 1985. On May 13, 1989, Pope John Paul II (1978-2005), authorized the issuing of the decree of heroicity of virtues, declaring him Venerable. A miracle was submitted in 1990. A canonical inquiry was held in Goa in 1991, and the process was submitted in the same year to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. On July 6, 1993, Pope John Paul II, declared this to be a real miracle wrought by the intersession of Venerable Joseph Vaz. Pope John Paul II beatified the Blessed Joseph Vaz on January 21, 1995 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Joseph Vaz was canonized by Pope Francis on January 14, 2015 in Colombo at Golface, Sri Lanka