Roberto Clemente, a Puerto Rican baseball player who is known almost equally well for his philanthropy, has been proposed as a saint of the Catholic church.
The process of canonization, or becoming a saint, is complex and lengthy. It can take centuries for an individual to be canonized.
A man name Richard Rossi is working to begin the process for Roberto Clemente. U.S. Catholic reports that a group of Italian saints who died in 1480 were canonized in 2013, so this is clearly not a quick process. Rossi is communicating with a number of officials of the Catholic Church, including the archbishop of San Juan.
Rossi points out that Clemente lived and died in service for others. Clemente died in a plane crash in 1972, taking relief supplies to the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua. The following year he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the first Latin American player to be honored in this way. He was the first of many Puerto Rican baseball players to gain superstar status, and he was known for his humility as well as his humanitarianism.
Clemente held free baseball clinics for kids in Puerto Rico, and was known for his acts of generosity to individuals, especially children. Clemente also spoke out against discrimination and for equality.
These things have been enough to make Clemente a hero in Puerto Rico.
There are about a dozen American saints already. Many were born in territories which have now become states, and one was born in the Philippines, then a U.S. territory, and was martyred in Guam, which is still a U.S. territory.