Pope John Paul II has beatified a Bavarian-born priest who ministered to immigrants on the East Coast of the United States during the 19th century.
The Rev. Francis Xavier Seelos, a member of the Redemptorist order, was one of five candidates for sainthood--two priests and three nuns--whom the pope proclaimed blessed during a special Jubilee Holy Year Mass on April 9 in St. Peter's Square.
John Paul has now beatified a record 1,791 people during his more than 21 years as Roman Catholic pontiff. Beatification is the last step before sainthood.
Seelos worked as a missionary for 23 years among German and Irish immigrants in Baltimore, Cumberland and Annapolis, Md., Pittsburgh, Detroit and New Orleans, where he died in 1867 at the age of 48 in a yellow fever epidemic.