Saint of the Day – 30 October – Saint Gerard of Potenza (Died 1119) Bishop of Potenza, miracle-worker. Born at Piancenza, Italy and died on 30 October 1119 of natural causes in the same City. Patronage – Potenza. Diocese and the City if Potenza. Additional Memorial 30 May – translation of his relics.
Gerard was a native of Piacenza and, having moved to Potenza, he was chosen as Bishop for his virtues and his thaumaturgical activity. Died after just eight years of episcopate, his successor Manfredo wrote a Life of the Saint leading to his Canonisation by Pope Callistus II.
Gerard, was a descendant of the noble and illustrious La Porta family and was Bishop of this City from 1111 to 1119. He was a man of culture and solid piety. After spending his youth in Southern Italy, like so many other noble souls of his time, either in search of solitude or to be closer to the embarkation points of the Crusaders, on their way to the holy places.
When he arrived in Potenza, Gerard saw a vast field of apostolate opening up, especially among the youth. Opening the treasures of his culture and goodness to everyone, he attracted the sympathy and love of all the people.
On the death of the Bishop, the clergy and people elected him as their new Bishop and shepherd. He was consecrated Bishop in Acerenza. The dignity achieved, did not change the austerity of his life or the simplicity of his manners. Manfred, his Biographer and later successor in the episcopal role, describes this period of his life thus – “Honoured by pontifical glory, he appeared humbler, more meek, more humble, more benign, more diligent, in the exercise of the virtues.“
The Lord was pleased to make the holiness of His servant while still alive ,shine forth, with numerous miraculous signs, such as the changing of water into wine. Just a year after his death, the Pontiff of Rome Callistus II proclaimed his holiness.
The bones of St Gerard rest under the Altar dedicated to him ,in the Cathedral Church of Potenza. The Saint is honoured, in a particular way, on 30 October, the day of his death and on 30 May in memory of the translation of his bones to the new Cathedral, made by Bishop Oberto in 1250.