As brushes with greatness go, I have had a couple. I saw President Bush drive by when I was walking my dog, and just this past week I saw the Washington Wizards cheerleaders warming up on the Mall before the Cherry Blossom Parade. I actually wasn't attending the parade. Again I was walking my dog and was frankly annoyed by the crowd of men in the sidewalk until I realized who the men were looking at.

My name dropping is now going to a whole new level with the canonization of St. John Paul II because I shook his hand once. I was a seminarian and we were granted an audience. As he passed and I fumbled to kiss his ring, I spoke these memorable words, "Hello, Father Holy," and finished the sentence with several lines of gibberish. I met a saint in the making, which is actually something I think I do a lot when I talk to my parishioners.

Some people feel that the way to become a saint is just to die, as if a life of heroic virtue means nothing. (Purgatory is whole different topic, but it's a good one.) So, perhaps it's time to clear up some misunderstanding with five myths of sainthood.

Made a Saint - People will often say that the pope makes someone a saint. The pope cannot make a saint. Rather he solemnly declare someone to be among those who are a models and intercessors for whole Church. He is recognizing them to be in heaven either because they were martyrs or lived lives of heroic virtue.

Worship Saints - Catholics don't worship saints. Anyone who says Catholics worship saints either does not know what they are talking about or is a liar. There, I said it, and I mean it. We give God alone glory and adoration. We honor saints for the way they have lived their lives configured to Jesus. We should honor people who do good things not because they need it, but rather because it teaches the rest of us how to be better.

Middle Men/Women - Why do we need a middle man when we can just go straight to Jesus? Jesus is our one mediator - but not our sole intercessor. If I have a special need, I would not think twice about asking a friend to pray for me. My friends help me carry my load to the one who can help me unburden it. In the Book of Revelation we hear that before the throne of God there are, "gold bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." (Rev. 5, 8) Why not have the holy ones fill their bowls with your prayers?

No Answer - "I prayed and nothing happened." When nothing happens, it does not mean that the saints were asleep at the wheel or that God doesn't care. Actually, God never says no, He says, "I have something better." Pray to trust His will.

Super Heroes With Special Powers - Many people think that saints are different than us, as if they had magical powers. NO! They were people like you and me who just tried really hard to trust in Christ and let His love flow through them. They are super heroes, but their special powers were faith, hope and love. We are all called to be saints.