Saint of the Day – 9 February – Blessed Giacomo Abbondo (1720-1788) Priest, Apostle of the poor, Spiritual guide, renowned Preacher – born on 27 August 1720 in Salomino, Duchy of Milan (in modern Italy) and died on 9 Febuary 1788 in Tronzano, Ducky of Milan, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – Tronzano, Italy.
Don Giacomo Abbondo was a true Parish Priest, father figure, shepherd and preacher of the Gospel, who cared for his faithful to the point of heroically practising charity. Pope Francis proclaimed him to be Venerable in 2014 and approved a miracle needed for his Beatification in 2015. This priest from Tronzano Vercellese was Beatified by Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who was representing Pope Francis, on Saturday, 11 June 2016, in Vercelli.
Giacomo Abbondo was born in Vercelli on 27 August 1720 as the second of six children to Carlo Benedetto Abbondo and Francesca Maria Naya.
The decisive factor in his Christian upbringing was the presence and example of his paternal uncle, Father Giovanni Carlo Abbondo. Giacomo attended school in Tronzano and received Confirmation from Cardinal Carlo Vincenzo Maria Ferreri on 15 December 1740. It was at this time his religious calling blossomed and his father had, on 11 August 1738, announced his son’s desire to become a priest. The same day as his Confirmation, the Cardinal gave him the first clerical tonsure and on 12 August admitted him to minor orders. On 27 May 1741, the cardinal also gave him the minor orders of exorcism and acolyte.
Msgr Giovanni Pietro Solaro elevated him to the Subdiaconate on 21 December 1743 and elevated him to the Diaconate on 29 February 1744. He commenced his theological studies in Vercelli where he was Ordained on 21 March 1744. He received a papal dispensation from Pope Clement XII for his Ordination, since he had not reached the canonical age for becoming a priest.
He obtained a degree in literature on 31 October 1748 in Turin and was assigned to teach in Vercelli. In 1757 he left teaching to remain as a simple Parish Priest.
He tried to help his parishioners to discover the goodness of God and to know and praise God. He believed that this was of greater importance since the previous Priest was a known Jansenist. He was devoted to the sacraments and was a renowned preacher. He loved the children and insisted that he be the one who admitted the Eucharist to them when the children were ten. He viewed his mission as a Priest as a service that had to be available to all people.
Abbondo would visit his parishioners in their homes in his role as the head of thirteen churches but also, did this, in order to maintain fruitful relationships and connections with the people. He scheduled lectures each Lent season and on 3 April 1759 obtained from Pope Clement XIII the privilege of indulgences, for those that partook of the spiritual exercises offered in Tronzano. He also referred to the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola as a guide. He preached to the Sisters of Saint Agatha in 1775 and to the Sisters of the Holy Spirit in 1782.
He died in 1788 with a deep reputation for holiness and was well known across the area for the pious life that he led. Pilgrimages to his tomb became common and there were immediate calls for his Beatification to commence.
On Sunday 12 June at 10.30 in the parish church of Tronzano, the place where his mortal remains are kept, the Cardinal Angelo Amato will preside over the Eucharist of thanksgiving to God for the gift of the new Blessed, who, in the hamlet of Salomino, was born in 1720 and from where he exercised the priestly ministry as Parish Priest from 1757 to 1788.
The parish community of Tronzano prepared for this “moment of grace” throughout a year which coincided with the 250th anniversary of the consecration of the parish church, consecration that took place in 1766, while Don Giacomo was parish priest.
On Friday 10 June, on the eve of the Beatification, there will be the possibility of Confessions throughout the course of the day.
Saturday 2 July 2016 at 17.00 in the parish church of Salomino, Cardinal Angelo Amato will preside over the Eucharist which will begin in the courtyard of the birthplace of Don Giacomo, with the blessing of the Statue that will be placed in the Church of the hamlet.