Saint of the Day – 18 June – St Gregory Barbarigo (1625-1697) Cardinal who served as the Bishop of Bergamo and later as the Bishop of Padua, Canon and Civil lawyer, Vatican prelate, Apostle of Charity and the Sick, Reformer, Teacher – born on 16 September 1625 at Venice, Italy as Gregorio Giovanni Gasparo Barbarigo and died on 18 June 1697 at Padua, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Diocese of Bergamo, Diocese of Padua. His body is incorrupt.
He was a front-runner in both the 1689 and 1691 papal conclaves for his diplomatic and scholastic nature whereby he distinguished himself. He was a noted scholar and was an able pastor who displayed careful attention to pastoral initiatives and frequent parish visitations.
St Gregory was born on 16 September 1625 in Venice as the eldest of four children to the nobles Giovanni Francesco Barbarigo (a senator) and Lucrezia Leoni. His father instructed him in philosophical studies and in mathematics while tutors taught him Latin and Greek; he also received the rudiments of music.
In 1643 he accompanied the Venetian ambassador Aloise Contarini to Münster for the negotiations to prepare for the Peace of Westphalia which was signed on 24 October 1648. There he became acquainted with Archbishop Fabio Chigi (the future Pope Alexander VII) – the nuncio to Cologne and a participant in the negotiations. In July 1648 he returned to Venice and continued his studies in Padua. In the winter in 1653, he went to Rome to ask the advice of Cardinal Chigi who recommended that he not retire as a hermit but follow the ecclesiastical career and begin obtaining a doctorate in law and theology. He obtained doctorates in both canon law and civil law, as well as theology, on 25 September 1655 and received his ordination to the priesthood on 21 December 1655.
He left for Rome at in late February 1656 for Chigi – now Pope Alexander VII – initiated him into the papal service. In 1655 he was given a Canonicate in the cathedral chapter of Padua without the requirement of residence and in 1656 – at the request of the pope – he organised the assistance to the Romans in the Trastevere area who had been stricken with the plague. He oversaw the care of the mothers and their children and the funerals of the deceased in this work.
On 9 July 1657 the pope appointed him as the newest Bishop of Bergamo (* see note below) and he received his episcopal consecration as such on 29 July 1657. When he arrived in Bergamo, he proceeded to visit each of the 390 parishes of the diocese.
He was a successful bishop and his fame spread through the ranks so much to the point that his old friend Alexander VII elevated him into the cardinalate on 5 April 1660. In 1664 he was made the newest Bishop of Padua and upon entrance into his new diocese he strove to model himself upon the example of Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584).
He was a strong supporter of the work of the Council of Trent. He made the seminaries of Padua and of Bergamo larger and added an archive and printing press in Padua. He celebrated a diocesan synod from 1–3 September 1683 and wrote the “Regulae Studiorum” in 1690 for ecclesial studies . He also visited all 320 parishes in his diocese.
Cardinal Barbarigo fostered catechetical instruction and he travelled across to each village in his diocese in order to teach and to preach to the people. His compassion to the poor was well known for he gave his household goods and his clothes to the poor. He even sold his bed to help them.
Barbarigo died after a brief illness on 18 June 1697 in Padua where he was interred in the diocesan cathedral. His remains were exhumed on 25 May 1725 and found to be incorrupt.
Barbarigo’s Beatification was celebrated under Pope Clement XIII while Pope John XXIII Canonised him in 1960; the latter Pope held Barbarigo as a great role model and fostered a great devotion to him.
*Note: An unusual feature of diocesan life in Bergamo is that for historical reasons, a number of the parishes in the diocese, even if a minority, celebrate the liturgy not according to the Roman Rite but according to the Ambrosian Rite. The Ambrosian Rite, also called the Milanese Rite, is a Catholic liturgical Western rite. The rite is named after Saint Ambrose, a bishop of Milan in the fourth century. The Ambrosian Rite, which differs from the Roman Rite, is used by some five million Catholics in the greater part of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, in some parishes of the Diocese of Como, Bergamo, Novara, Lodi and in about fifty parishes of the Diocese of Lugano, in the Canton Ticino, Switzerland.
Although at various points in its history the distinctive Ambrosian Rite has risked suppression, it survived and was reformed after the Second Vatican Council partly because Blessed Pope Paul VI belonged to the Ambrosian Rite, having previously been Archbishop of Milan. In the 20th century, it also gained prominence and prestige from the attentions of two other scholarly Archbishops of Milan: Achille Ratti, later Pope Pius XI and the Blessed Ildefonso Schuster O.S.B. (1880-1954), both of whom had been involved in studies and publications on the rite before their respective appointments.
Differences from the Roman Rite
Some features of the Ambrosian Rite distinguish it from the Roman Rite liturgy.
Mass – the main differences in the Mass are:
The principal celebrant blesses all the readers, not only the deacon.
The Gospel is followed by a short antiphon.
The General Intercessions or “Prayers of the Faithful” immediately follow the homily
The Rite of Peace comes at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, before the Offertory (Presentation of the Gifts)
The Creed follows the Offertory, before the Prayer over the Gifts
There are some differences between the First Eucharistic Prayer of the Ambrosian Missal and the Roman Canon, the first in the Roman Missal; but its Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV are the same as in the Roman Rite. In addition, the Ambrosian Rite has two proper Eucharistic Prayers, used mainly on Easter and Holy Thursday.
The priest breaks the Host and places a piece in the main chalice before the Lord’s Prayer, while an antiphon (the Confractorium) is sung or recited.
The Agnus Dei is not said.
Before the final blessing, the people say three times Kyrie, eleison (Lord have mercy).
The Ambrosian Rite has its own cycle of readings at Mass.
Many of the prayers said by the priest during Mass are peculiar to the Ambrosian Rite, which has a particularly rich variety of prefaces.
Liturgical year – The main differences in the liturgical year are:
Advent has six weeks, not four.
Lent starts four days later than in the Roman Rite, so that Ash Wednesday is postponed to a week later than in the Roman Rite, and Carnival continues until “sabato grasso” (“Fat Saturday” in Italian), corresponding to Shrove Tuesday (called “mardi gras”, i.e. “Fat Tuesday”, in French) in areas where the Roman Rite is used.
On Fridays in Lent, Mass is not celebrated and, with a few exceptions, Communion is not distributed.
Red, not the Roman-Rite green, is the standard colour of vestments from Pentecost to the third Sunday of October and there are other differences in liturgical colours throughout the year.
Other differences are:
The Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office or Breviary) is different in structure and in various features.
The liturgical rites of the Holy Week are quite different.
The rite of funerals is different.
Baptism of infants is done by triple immersion of the head.
The thurible has no top cover, and is swung clockwise before the censing of a person or object.
Ambrosian deacons wear the stole over the dalmatic and not under it.
The Ambrosian cassock, buttoned with only five buttons below the neck, is held with a fascia at the waist, and is worn with a round white collar.
Ambrosian chant is distinct from Gregorian chant.