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Pope beatifies cappuccino friar

Pope John Paul II yesterday beatified a 17th-century friar credited with halting a Muslim invasion of Europe and in the process discovering the frothy coffee drink cappuccino.

More than 300 years after his death, Marco d'Aviano cleared the last step before sainthood, as the Holy Father recognised the friar's miraculous work including curing a nun who had been bedridden for 13 years.

History books also show that with a vast Ottoman Turk army beating a path to Vienna in 1683, d'Aviano was sent by the then pope to unite the outnumbered Christian troops, spurring them to victory.

As the Turks fled, legend has it they left behind sacks of coffee which the Christians found too bitter, so they sweetened it with honey and milk. The drink was called cappuccino after the Capuchin order to which d'Aviano belonged.

Under a cloudy sky in St Peter's Square on Sunday, the pope paid tribute to d'Aviano and five other Italians whom he also beatified.

"They show us the path to follow, always confident in God's help," the pope told thousands of gathered faithful.

The five figures beatified along with Marco D'Aviano are the latest in a line of 1310 people this Pope has beatified. Giacomo Alberione (1884-1971) was an Italian priest and best-selling author who believed in preaching via modern technology and founded the Society of St Paul to this end. The other four figures are all nuns who founded religious orders in the 19th Century.

Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said on Friday that Alberione is a model of holiness not because he knew the church needed to use media to spread the Gospel, but because he lived the Gospel, then shared it.

The Italian priest, who began his ministry using newspapers, books and magazines before radio, television and the Internet existed, knew that "we must be containers and not simply conductors of what we preach," the archbishop said.

AP/BBC/Catholic News Service

Don Alberione: His Life Soon to be Filmed (Vidimus Dominum)
Don Alberione: New Blessed Master of Vocation (Vidimus Dominum)
Pope Beatifies 6 People, Including 4 Nuns (AP)
Pope puts more faithful on road to sainthood (AP)
Pope John Paul to beatify six servants of God (Vatican Information Service)
Archbishop Foley to speak on Pauline founder, Fr. Alberione (Vatican Information Service)
Pope moves cappuccino friar along sainthood path (ABC)

Sainthood for Archbishop Sheen Hinges on Miracle (AP)

28 Apr 2003