- Associated Press - Thursday, April 27, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo) has formally begun the process to try to make the Catholic Church’s first quadriplegic priest a saint.

The Rev. William Atkinson died in 2006 and the Vatican approved opening the case for his beatification last year.

On Monday, the archbishop formally started the process by celebrating the formal rite that begins the church’s process of determining whether Atkinson will be declared a saint.

Atkinson graduated from Msgr. Bonner High School in suburban Delaware County then was paralyzed in a toboggan accident while studying to be a priest. He became an Augustinian priest and spent 30 years teaching theology and serving as assistant chaplain at the high school.

The Rev. Joseph Ryan, an assistant professor of history at Villanova University, and others will serve on the tribunal that will investigate Atkinson’s life.

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