Posted in ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Saint of the Day – 7 May – St Agostino Roscelli ( 1818–1902)

Saint of the Day – 7 May – St Agostino Roscelli ( 1818–1902) aged 83, Priest, Founder of the Institute of Sisters of the Immaculata, Spiritual director, Apostle of prayer and charity, Social reformer, founder of training schools and programmes for young adults, both girls and boys, Chaplain to Prisoners and Orphanages – also known as Augustine Roscelli, Augustin Roscelli – born on 27 July 1818 at Bargone di Casarza Ligure, Italy and died on 7 May 1902 at Genoa, Italy of natural causes.   St Agostino inspired social change in Genoa, Italy for children and disadvantaged women.ST AGOSTINO ROSCELLI.jpg

On 27 July 1818, Agostino was born in northern Italy.   His parents, Domenico Roscelli and Maria Gianelli, had him baptised the same day out of fear that he may not survive. Despite his early health problems, Agostino would grow into a quiet intellectual, receiving his basic education from the parish priest, Fr Andrea Garibaldi.   These times were brief however, as he would spend a large part of his childhood caring for his poor farming family’s sheep in the mountains.   During these solitary times, he would fill his hours with prayer.

In May 1835, at the age of 17, Agostino attended a parish mission given by a visiting priest, Fr Antonio Maria Gianelli (1789– 1846) (parish priest of Chiavari and later bishop of Bobbio) and now a Saint and the founder of the Missionaries of St Alphonsus.    (About St Anthony here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/saint-of-the-day-7-june-st-anthony-mary-gianelli-1789-1846/)

This mission thoroughly convinced him he had a call to the priesthood, a calling that would not be easily achieved, considering the poor financial state his family was in. Despite this, he attacked the situation with prayer, which led to financial aid that allowed him to study in Genoa, Italy.   One of his benefactors was Fr Gianelli who found him a post as a sacristan and guardian of a church attached to a girls school.   He was ordained on 19 September 1846.agostino roscelli1-young main .jpg

Agostino was shortly thereafter, appointed to a working class parish, San Martino d’Albaro, in 1846.   He would later move to the Church of Consolation in Genoa in 1854. As a parish priest he soon made a positive impression with his obvious zeal and austerity of life.   He spent long hours in the confessional, which developed his deep concern for the youth of the area.   The boys of the parish were often tempted into a life of crime, having little to no education or hope of finding work.   The girls were even worse off, having less education than the boys and were liable to seek menial work in the city, often being seduced or enticed into a life of prostitution.

Seeing a great need for change, Agostino set about forming a new type of job training for girls.   He gathered together a group of young women and with them founded a “sewing workshop”, in which girls could receive practical and professional training as well as Christian instruction.  STATUE ST AGOSTINO ROSCELLINot wanting to neglect the boys, he would also found a “young craftsman” institute for them in 1858.   He would later go on to establish a residential school to train young women who were in danger of starvation or falling into prostitution because they had no support.

In 1872, Agostino began a ministry to prisoners, working especially with those condemned to death.   Two years later, in 1874, he was appointed Warden and Chaplain of the new provincial orphanage, Monte dei Fieschine, a post he held for 22 years. During that time he would baptise over 8,000 children, as well as providing care for young single mothers, not condemning them but seeing them as simple souls led astray on account of lack of rewarding work.

He lived in an atmosphere of intense prayer, something that would inspire those around him, especially his helpers.   The women who ran the sewing workshop, known as “Roscelli’s Collaborators”, decided their mission would be greatly helped if they were to consecrate themselves to Christ in a more formal way.   Agostino was reluctant to start a religious congregation but was encouraged to seek the advice and approval of Pope Pius IX.

Pope Pius IX’s reply was simple, “May God bless you and your good works”.  ST AGOSTINO Roscelli 3This was what Agostino needed however and he would go on to found the Institute of Sisters of the Immaculata on 15 October 1876.   Agostino would induct the first of the nuns a week later, going on to act as their spiritual director.   He would oversee the early growth of the order beyond Genoa and eventually beyond Italy.

Until the very end of his life, St Agostino would describe himself simply as a “poor priest”, ever humble as to his accomplishments.   On 7 May 1902, he died of natural causes in Genoa, Italy.   He was 83 years old.

On 17 May 1995, Agostino was officially declared Blessed by St Pope John Paul II.   He said:

“A spiritual feature characteristic of Blessed Agostino Roscelli…was to work at the service of his brothers and sisters without ever neglecting his interior union with the Lord.   The true contemplative is the one who is able to work with greater force and incisiveness for the salvation of souls and the good of the Church.   The new blessed’s apostolic activity was truly fruitful because it flowed from a genuine mystical and contemplative life.   His ardent love for God, enriched by the gift of wisdom, enabled him to give himself as far as possible to serving his neighbour without ever being separated from the Lord.”… St John Paul at the Beatification ceremony.”

99 years after his death, Agostino was officially declared a Saint by St Pope John Paul II on 10 June 2001.444px-Bargone-dipinto_Agostino_Roscelli

“‘Great is his love for us.’   The love of God for men is manifested with particular clarity in the life of St Augustine Roscelli, whom we contemplate today in the splendour of holiness.  Its existence, imbued with deep faith, can be considered a gift offered to the glory of God and for the good of souls.   It was faith which made him always obedient to the Church and its teachings, in docile adherence to the Pope and to their own bishop.   By faith he knew how to draw comfort in sad and harsh difficulty and in painful events.   Faith was the solid rock to which he held on tightly to not give in to discouragement.  This same faith led him to feel it his duty to communicate it to others, especially to those who approached the ministry of confession.   He became a master of the spiritual life, especially for the sisters that he founded, which saw him serene even in the most trying situations.   St Augustine Roscelli exhorts us always to trust in God, immersing us in the mystery of His love.”… St John Paul’s homily at the Canonization of Agostino Roscelli, 10 June 2001.

Below is his birthplace and the plaque outside.

Posted in EASTER, FRANCISCAN OFM, PAPAL MESSAGES, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 April – “Stay with us”

One Minute Reflection – 24 April – Wednesday of Easter week, Gospel: Luke 24:13–35 and the Memorial of St Benedict Menni (1841-1914)

“Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.”   So he went in to stay with them....Luke 24:29

REFLECTION – “When the disciples on the way to Emmaus asked Jesus to stay “with” them, He responded by giving them a much greater gift, through the Sacrament of the Eucharist He found a way to stay “in” them.
Receiving the Eucharist means entering into a profound communion with Jesus.   “Abide in me, and I in you” (Jn 15:4).   This relationship of profound and mutual “abiding” enables us to have a certain foretaste of heaven on earth.   Is this not the greatest of human yearnings?   Is this not what God had in mind when He brought about in history His plan of salvation?   God has placed in human hearts a “hunger” for His word (cf. Am 8:11), a hunger which will be satisfied only by full union with Him.   Eucharistic communion was given, so that we might be “sated” with God here on earth, in expectation of our complete fulfilment in heaven.
This special closeness which comes about in Eucharistic “communion” cannot be adequately understood or fully experienced apart from ecclesial communion…   The Church is the Body of Christ – we walk “with Christ” to the extent that we are in relationship “with his body”. Christ provided for the creation and growth of this unity, by the outpouring of His Holy Spirit.   And He Himself, constantly builds it up by His Eucharistic presence.   It is the one Eucharistic bread which makes us one body.   As the Apostle Paul states:  “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1Cor 10:17)…Saint John Paul II (1920-2005) – Apostolic Letter “ Mane nobiscum Domine ” §19-20luke 24 29 - stay with us - when the disciples on the way to emmaus - st john paul 24 april 2019 - wed easter octave.jpg

PRAYER – Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You.   You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, so that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me Lord, for You are my life and without You, I am without fervour.
Stay with me Lord, for You are my light and without you, I am in darkness.
Stay with me Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You…. St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968) (Excerpt)  
And grant holy Father, that the prayers of St Benedict Menni, may assist us on our way. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever, amen.st benedict menni pray for us 24 april 2019.jpg

Posted in QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY SPIRIT

Thought for the Day – 21 March – “Do everything for the love of God”

Thought for the Day – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C and the Memorial of St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello (1791 – 1858)

“O most blessed Light, fill the interior of the hearts of your faithful.”   The words of the Sequence are a beautiful summary of the life of Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello and explain its extraordinary spiritual richness.

Guided by divine grace, the new saint was concerned to accomplish God’s will with fidelity and coherence.   With boundless confidence in the Lord’s goodness, she abandoned herself to his “loving Providence”, deeply convinced, as she liked to repeat, that one must “do everything for love of God and to please Him”.   This is the precious inheritance that St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello left to her spiritual daughters that today is offered to the entire Christian community.

Come Holy Spirit, enkindle the hearts of your faithful!   Help us to spread the fire of your love in the world.   Amen!

St Pope John Paul on the Canonisation of St Benedetta, Sunday, 19 May 2002

St Benedetta Frassinello, Pray for Us!st benedetta frassinello pray for us 21 march 2019 do everythingforthelove of god.jpg

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Thought for the Day – 11 February – Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 27th World Day of Prayer for the Sick

Thought for the Day – 11 February – Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 27th World Day of Prayer for the Sick

Each year over 2 million people make their way through the mountainous country of southeastern France to Lourdes.   They come seeking cures, hoping to find answers, believing, and praying.   At Lourdes, people recall the Lady dressed in white, with a blue sash, yellow roses at her feet and a Rosary on her arm—the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On 11 February 1858, Mary appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous.   This was the first of 18 visits, many of them with 20,000 people present.   When Bernadette asked the Lady’s identity, she replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”   Just four years earlier, the pope had proclaimed it a dogma that Mary was conceived immaculate without original sin.   The Blessed Virgin, through Bernadette, had come to call sinners to a change of heart.   Her message was a request for prayer and penance.   She also instructed Bernadette to tell the priests that a chapel was to be built on the site and processions held.

On 25 February 1858, the Lady told Bernadette to dig in the dirt and drink of the stream. Bernadette began to dig and after several attempts, she was able to find the water to drink.   The water continued to flow from where she had dug with her hands until it was producing over 32,000 gallons of water a day—as it still does.   There have been over 5,000 cures recorded but less than 100 of them have been declared miraculous by the Church.   Most of these have taken place during the blessing with the Blessed Sacrament.

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.   We may never travel to Lourdes and join in the processions but we can know always that we have a Mother to help us and lead us to her Son, Jesus.   And so we pray to her:

Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
By St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

To Mary, Mother of tender love,
we wish to entrust all those
who are ill in body and soul,
that she may sustain them in hope.
We ask her also to help us to be welcoming
to our sick brothers and sisters.

Hail Mary, poor and humble Woman,
Blessed by the Most High!
Virgin of hope, dawn of a new era,
We join in your song of praise,
to celebrate the Lord’s mercy,
to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom
and the full liberation of humanity.

Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord,
Glorious Mother of Christ!
Faithful Virgin, holy dwelling-place of the Word,
Teach us to persevere in listening to the Word,
and to be docile to the voice of the Spirit,
attentive to His promptings in the depths of our conscience
and to His manifestations in the events of history.

Hail Mary, Woman of sorrows,
Mother of the living!
Virgin spouse beneath the Cross, the new Eve,
Be our guide along the paths of the world.
Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ,
to stand with you before the innumerable crosses
on which your Son is still crucified.

Hail Mary, woman of faith,
First of the disciples!
Virgin Mother of the Church, help us always
to account for the hope that is in us,
with trust in human goodness and the Father’s love.
Teach us to build up the world beginning from within:
in the depths of silence and prayer,
in the joy of fraternal love,
in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross.

Holy Mary, Mother of believers,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
pray for us.
Amenprayer-to-our-lady-of-lourdes-by-st-john-paul-no-2-11-feb-2018 (1).jpg

Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for Us!ou lady of lourdes pray for us 11 feb 2019.jpg

St Bernadette, Pray for Us!st-bernadette-pray-for-us-11-feb-2018.jpg

Posted in Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 10 February – The Memorial of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac (1898–1960) Martyr

Thought for the Day – 10 February – The Memorial of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac (1898–1960) Martyr

Excerpt from the Beatification Homily of
THE HOLY FATHER AT MARIJA BISTRICA
FOR THE BEATIFICATION OF THE
VENERABLE SERVANT OF GOD
CARDINAL ALOJZIJE STEPINAC
3 October 1998

For all of us, a particular cause for comfort is today’s Beatification.   This solemn act takes place in the Croatian national shrine of Marija Bistrica on the first Saturday of the month of October.   Beneath the gaze of the Most Blessed Virgin, an illustrious son of this blessed land is raised to the glory of the altars, on the hundredth anniversary of his birth.   It is an historic moment in the life of the Church and of your nation.   The Cardinal Archbishop of Zagreb, one of the outstanding figures of the Catholic Church, having endured in his own body and his own spirit the atrocities of the Communist system, is now entrusted to the memory of his fellow countrymen with the radiant badge of martyrdom.

The Episcopate of your country asked that the Beatification of Cardinal Stepinac take place here, in the Shrine of Marija Bistrica.   I know from personal experience the significance that the Shrine of Jasna Gora had for the Polish people at the time of Communist rule, a Shrine closely linked to the pastoral ministry of the Servant of God Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski.   I am not surprised that this Shrine, or that of Solona which I shall visit tomorrow, have had a similar importance for you.   For some time I have wanted to visit the Shrine of Marija Bistrica.   And so I gladly accepted the proposal of the Croatian Episcopate and today celebrate the solemn beatification ceremony in this significant place.682px-Marija_Bistrica.jpg

“If anyone serves me, he must follow me” (Jn 12:26).   Blessed Alojzije Stepinac took the Good Shepherd as his sole Teacher, following His example to the end and offering his life for the flock entrusted to him at a particularly difficult period of history.

The person of the new Beatus sums up, so to speak, the whole tragedy which befell the Croatian people and Europe in the course of this century marked by the three great evils of fascism, national socialism and communism.   He is now in the joy of heaven, surrounded by all those who, like him, fought the good fight, purifying their faith in the crucible of suffering.   Today we look to him with trust and invoke his intercession.

Significant in this regard are the words spoken by the new Beatus in 1943, during the Second World War, when Europe was in the grip of unheard-of violence:   “What system does the Catholic Church support today, while the whole world is fighting for a new world order?   We, in condemning the injustices, all the killing of innocent people, the burning of peaceful villages, the destruction of the labour of the poor, … give this answer: the Church supports that system which is as old as the Ten Commandments of God.   We are for the system which is not written on impermanent tables but which has been written by the hand of the living God on the consciences of men” (Homilies, Addresses, Messages, Zagreb, 1996, 179-180).

“Father, glorify your name!” (Jn 12:28).   In his human and spiritual journey Blessed Alojzije Stepinac gave his people a sort of compass to serve as an orientation.   And these were its cardinal points – faith in God, respect for man, love towards all even to the offer of forgiveness and unity with the Church guided by the Successor of Peter.   He knew well that no bargains can be made with truth, because truth is not negotiable.   Thus he faced suffering rather than betray his conscience and not abide by the promise given to Christ and the Church.

In this courageous witness he was not alone.   He had at his side other courageous souls who, in order to preserve the unity of the Church and defend her freedom, agreed to pay with him a heavy price in imprisonment, mistreatment and even bloodshed  . To these generous souls – Bishops, priests, men and women religious and lay faithful – we offer today our admiration and gratitude.   Let us listen to their urgent call for forgiveness and reconciliation.   To forgive and to be reconciled, means to purify one’s memory of hatred, rancour, the desire for revenge, it means acknowledging as a brother even those who have wronged us, it means not being overcome by evil but overcoming evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21).
May you be blessed, “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor 1:3), for this new gift of your grace.

May you be blessed, Unbegotten Son of God and Saviour of the world, for your glorious Cross, which in the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, has won a splendid victory.

May you be blessed, Spirit of the Father and the Son, Paraclete Spirit, who continue to manifest your holiness among men and unceasingly carry on the work of salvation.

Triune God, today I wish to thank you for the strong faith of this your people, despite the many trials encountered through the centuries.   I wish to thank you for the countless martyrs and confessors, men and women in every age, who have arisen in this blessed land.

“Father, glorify your name!” (Jn 12:28).

Blessed be Jesus and Mary!

HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

Blessed Aloysius Stepinac, Pray for Us!blessed sloysius stepinac pray for us 10 feb 2019 .jpg

Posted in GOD the FATHER, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, SAINT Pope PAUL VI, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Thought for the Day – 4 February – We are called to serve.

Thought for the Day – 4 February – The Memorial of St John de Britto SJ (1647-1693) Martyr

We are called to serve.

Excerpt from the
EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION IN HONOUR OF ST JOHN DE BRITTO

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Madras
Wednesday, 5 February 1986

“Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you” .

Saint John de Britto, whom we are remembering in today’s liturgical celebration, was born in Lisbon in 1647.   After entering the Society of Jesus he followed the footsteps of Saint Francis Xavier to India where he chose to work for the humble and needy in what was then called the Madurai Mission.   His patient labours, selfless zeal and genuine love for the poor, won for him their confidence.   Like Jesus he was “a sign of contradiction” and his success created jealousy and opposition.   As a result, John de Britto died a martyr on 4 February 1693, bearing witness to Christ.

…Saint John de Britto’s life faithfully reflected the life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for it was a life of service unto death.   Today it challenges all of us to continue with fresh vigour the Church’s role of loving service to humanity.   The immense and tender love of Jesus Christ for the poor and the downtrodden, for sinners and the suffering, remains a challenge for every Christian.   Christ’s unrelenting stand for truth is a compelling example.   Above all, the generosity shown in His suffering and death, as the culmination of His service to humanity and the supreme act of Redemption, is the example for us.    We are called to serve.

There can be no authentic Christian life without an effective love of our fellow human beings.   At the closing of the Vatican Council Pope Paul VI affirmed that ” if… in the face of every man, especially when this face is made transparent by his tears and suffering, we can and must, recognise the face of Christ … and in the face of Christ, we can and must, recognise, the face of our heavenly Father, … then our humanism becomes a Christianity and our Christianity becomes theocentric.   And thus we can also say – to know God, it is necessary, to know man.”if in the face of every man - st pope paul VI 4 feb 2019.jpg

Today we live at a time of history when peace and harmony between nations and races is constantly threatened.   Division and hatred, fear and frustration – these are among the counter-values of our day.   The message of love in Christ Jesus in urgently needed. Hence, the Church’s task of proclaiming the Gospel and of being at the service of society is supremely relevant in India today.   This task requires the active collaboration of all sectors of the ecclesial community, especially the laity.

…Through the testimony of your lives, through your words and deeds, the word of God is made known to the minds and hearts of others who seek Him, so that “they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory” – that “they may obtain salvation”!

Brothers and sisters, if we die with Christ, we shall live also with Him, “if we endure, we shall also reign with him” .

Christ – Shepherd, Prophet and Priest – has sealed our hearts with His call just as He touched the hearts of the apostles, the hearts of Saint Thomas, Saint Francis Xavier and Saint John de Britto.   May they intercede for the Church in India, for this beloved country and its people!

We will be happy if we remain faithful.   For He, Christ, is faithful – “He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself” .

Brothers and sisters, you are called to be living witnesses to Christ, living witnesses to God’s word, living witnesses to the saving message of love and mercy that Christ revealed to the world. Amen.

St John de Britto, Pray for Us!st john de britto no 2 pray for us 4 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, SAINT Pope PAUL VI, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Thought for the Day – 16 January – The Memorial of Blessed Giuseppe Tovini OFS (1841-1897)

Thought for the Day – 16 January – The Memorial of Blessed Giuseppe Tovini OFS (1841-1897)

St Pope Paul VI and Blessed Giuseppe Tovini

Sons & Saints of Brescia

Excerpt from St Pope John Paul’s Homily

EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
ON THE OCCASION OF THE CENTENARY OF THE BIRTH
OF THE SERVANT OF GOD PAUL VI
AND THE BEATIFICATION OF GIUSEPPE TOVINI

HOMILY OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
Brescia
Sunday, 20 September, 1998

With deep affection I greet you, city of Brescia, so rich in works of Christian inspiration;  I greet your priests, religious and the many lay people who in their various ecclesial and civil offices have distinguished themselves by their religious, social and cultural commitment.

2. “Peter, do you love me?”.   We can say that Paul VI’s life was a response to Christ’s question – a great proof of love for God, the Church and mankind.   He loved God as a gracious and caring Father and during the important moments of his life, especially those burdened with difficulties and suffering, he displayed a very strong sense of the divine fatherhood.

When, as Archbishop of Milan, he decided to hold a popular mission to instil new energy in the city’s Christian tradition, he chose as his basic theme – God is Father.   Then on 6 August, 20 years ago, as he neared the end of his earthly life at Castel Gandolfo, he wanted to recite the Our Father as his last prayer.

And what can be said of his passionate love for Christ?   His was an essentially Christocentric spirituality.   In the homily to mark the beginning of his Pontificate, he explained that he had chosen the name of Paul because the Apostle “loved Christ supremely, because he greatly wanted and strove to bring the Gospel of Christ to all nations, because he offered his life in Christ’s name” (30 June 1963, in Insegnamenti I, [1963], pp. 24-25).   On another occasion he added that it is impossible to leave Christ out of consideration, “if we want to know something certain, full, revealed about God, or rather, if we want to have a living, direct and authentic relationship with God” (General Audience, 18 December 1968; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 26 December 1968, p. 3).

3. To his love for God the Father and for Christ the Teacher, Paul VI joined an intense love for the Church, for which he spent all his physical, intellectual and spiritual energies, as the touching confession he made in Pensiero alla morte testifies:  “The Church … I could say that I have always loved her … and that I think I have lived for her and for nothing else” (cf. Pubblicazione dell’Istituto Paolo VI, Brescia 1988, pp. 28-29).

Flowing spontaneously from this love for Christ and for the Church was his pastoral passion for man, with an acute insight into the sufferings and expectations of the contemporary age.   Few have known, as he, to interpret the anxieties, desires, toils and aspirations of the men of our century.   He wished to walk at their side, to do this he made himself a pilgrim on their roads, meeting them where they lived and struggled to build a world of greater attention and respect for the dignity of every human being.

He wanted to be the servant of Church which evangelised the poor, called with every person of goodwill to build that “civilisation of love” in which not only the crumbs of economic and civil progress go to the poor, but where justice and solidarity should reign.

4. The roots of Pope Montini’s particular sensitivity to the great social questions of our century are sunk deep in his Brescian origins.   In his own family and then during the years of his youth in Brescia, he breathed that atmosphere, that fervour of activity which made Brescian Catholicism one of the significant landmarks of the Catholic presence in the social and political life of the country.   Addressing his fellow citizens at the beginning of his Pontificate, Paul VI expressed this debt of gratitude: “Brescia! The city which not only gave me birth but is such a part of the civil, spiritual and human tradition, teaching me as well the meaning of life in this world and always offering me a framework which, I think, will withstand future experiences ordained over the years by divine Providence” (cf. Address to a Pilgrimage from Milan and Brescia, 29 June 1963, in Insegnamenti I [1963], p. 647).

5. Bl Giuseppe Tovini was certainly a great witness of the Gospel incarnated in Italy’s social and economic history in the last century.   He is resplendent for his strong personality, his profound lay and family spirituality and for his generous efforts to improve society.   Between Tovini and Giovanni Battista Montini there is — as a matter of fact — a close, profound spiritual and mental bond.

In fact, the Pontiff himself wrote of Tovini:  “The impression he left on those I first knew and esteemed was so vivid and so real that I frequently heard comments and praise of his extraordinary personality and his many varied activities – astonished, I heard admiring expressions of his virtue and sorrowful regrets at his early death” (cf. Preface by Giovanni Battista Montini to the biography of Giuseppe Tovini by Fr Antonio Cistellini in 1953, p. I).st pope paul VI and bl giuseppe tovini saints of brescia - 16 jan 2019.jpg

6. Fervent, honest, active in social and political life, Giuseppe Tovini proclaimed the Christian message, always in fidelity to the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.   His constant concern was to defend the faith, convinced that — as he said at a congress — “without faith our children will never be rich, with faith they will never be poor”. He lived at a sensitive time in the history of Italy and the Church and it was clear to him, that one could not respond fully to God’s call, without being generously and selflessly involved in social problems.

His was a prophetic vision and he responded with apostolic daring to the needs of the times, which in the light of new forms of discrimination required of believers a more incisive leadership in temporal affairs.

Aided by the legal skills and rigorous professionalism that distinguished him, he promoted and directed many social organisations and also held political office in Cividate Camuno and Brescia in the desire to make Christian doctrine and morality present among the people.   He considered commitment to education a priority and prominent among his many initiatives, was his defence of schools and the freedom of teaching.

With humble means and great courage he laboured tirelessly to preserve for Brescian and Italian society what was most particularly its own, that is, its religious and moral heritage.

Tovini’s honesty and integrity were rooted in his deep, vital relationship with God, which he constantly nourished with the Eucharist, meditation and devotion to the Blessed Virgin.   From listening to God in daily prayer, he drew light and strength for the great social and political battles he had to wage to safeguard Christian values.   The Church of St Luke, with its beautiful image of the Immaculata and where his mortal remains now rest, is a witness to his piety.

On the threshold of the third millennium, Giuseppe Tovini, whom today we contemplate in heavenly glory, spurs us on.   I invite you in particular, dear lay faithful of Brescia and Italy, to look to this great social apostle, who was able to give hope to those without voice in the society of his time, so that his example will be an incentive and encouragement to everyone to work generously today and always to defend and to spread the truth and the demands of the Gospel.   May he protect you from heaven and sustain you by his intercession.

Dear Brescians, you have received a great religious and civil heritage – treasure it as an incomparable patrimony and bear active witness to it, with that ingenuity and integrity, that fidelity and perseverance which distinguished Paul VI and Giuseppe Tovini.

7. “I have fought the good fight…. The Lord stood by me” (2 Tm 4:7,17)   These words from the second reading of the Mass summarise the spiritual experience of the two figures we recall today with devout admiration.   We thank God for their witness – it is a precious gift, not only for Brescia but for Italy and for all humanity.   Their memory must not fade with the passing of time.   In different fields and with different responsibilities, they sowed so much good, they fought the good fight – the fight for Truth and the civilisation of Love.

May Mary, Mother of the Church, help us take up their legacy and follow in their footsteps so that we too will be allowed to answer Christ like the Apostle Peter: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17). Amen!

Holy Mother Mary, Pray for Us!holy mother mary pray for us 16 jan 2019

St Pope Paul VI, Pray for Us!st pope paul vi pray for us 16 jan 2019

Blessed Giuseppe Tovini, Pray for Us!blessed giuseppe tovini pray for us 16 jan 2019 no 2