It was a year later though, that would effect the rest of his life when he enrolled in the Italian Catholic Students Federation and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He had always had a special place in his heart for the poor and even though he came from a wealthy family which was politically powerful, he used these attributes to help others, spending his own money on the needy and downtrodden and personally visiting the sick at every opportunity he could living the Beatitudes as Jesus preached. In 1920 when his father was appointed Italian ambassador to Berlin, Pier capitalized on this to become more politically active with the express purpose of helping others and fending off the communist threat in Italy, being instrumental in establishing the "Popular Party" which was the newly-founded Catholic Party. Two years after active lobbying, he became a Dominican Tertiary taking the name Girolamo. A year later, in 1925 while visiting the sick, specifically afflicted with polio, he contracted the crippling, deadly disease and, five days after detection and immense suffering, Our Lord took him Home on July 4, 1925 at the young age of 24.
Shortly after his death his cause for beatification was introduced but was delayed for many years, but in 1989 Pope John Paul II flew to Pollone to pray at Venerable Pier's grave and a year later on May 20, 1990 the Holy Father beatified him in St. Peter's Square in Rome as the "Man of the Eight Beatitudes" proclaiming, "Prayer and contemplation, silence and reception of the Sacraments give tone and substance to his varied apostleships; and his life, enlivened by the Spirit of God, is transformed into a wonderful adventure." The Pope put his words in the present tense to encourage youth all over the world to emulate his virtues. Such an organization is the Frassati Society of Young Adult Catholics which is holding its annual Conference next week in Rensselaer, Indiana with the theme "Defending your Faith" which is what Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati did throughout his short, but rewarding life.
On March 5, 1979 Pope John Paul II recalled him to Rome assigning him Deputy to the Secretary of State where he remained until the Holy Father elevated him to the cardinalate in His Consistory of June 28, 1988 when he received the red-hat and the titular church of Most Holy Name of Jesus as protodeacon. At the same time the Pope appointed him as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, a position he held until January 21, 1992 when His Holiness transferred him to Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life where he still remains. On April 5, 1993 he was afforded another honor by being named Chamberlain or Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church and a year later Protodeacon.
He has authored numerous documents on religious life, his latest being "Verbi Sponsa" and the Congregation he heads has been dear to John Paul II's heart. At the age of 72, Cardinal Martinez Somalo enjoys active membership in numerous Curial offices including the second section of the Secretary of State, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, both offices he once worked in, as well as the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Clergy and the Congregation for Catholic Education. In addition he serves membership on the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts plus the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Commission for the Institute for Works of Religion. He continues to reside in Vatican City with offices at Piazza Pio XII, 3 / 00193 Rome just outside the front of St. Peter's Square. For more on his Curial Congregation, we recommend The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which was first founded by Pope Sixtus V back in 1586.
Yet “the lay faithful too, precisely as members of the Church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the Gospel: they are prepared for this work by the sacraments of Christian initiation and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit”. (239) They have been “in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetic and kingly functions of Christ”. (240) Consequently, “the lay faithful, in virtue of their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, are fully part of this work of the Church” (241) and so should feel called and encouraged to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom. Jesus' words: “You too, go into the vineyard” (Mt 20:4), (242) must be seen as addressed not only to the Apostles but to all who desire to be authentic disciples of the Lord.
The basic task for which Jesus sends out his disciples is the proclamation of the Good News, that is, evangelization (cf. Mk 16:15-18). Consequently, “to evangelize is the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her most profound identity”. (243) As I have said on other occasions, the new and unique situation in which the world and the Church find themselves at the threshold of the Third Millennium, and the urgent needs which result, mean that the mission of evangelization today calls for a new program which can be defined overall as a “new evangelization”. (244) As the Church's Supreme Pastor, I urgently desire to encourage all the members of God's People, particularly those living in America — where I first appealed for a commitment “new in its ardor, methods and expression” (245) — to take up this project and to cooperate in carrying it out. In accepting this mission, everyone should keep in mind that the vital core of the new evangelization must be a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the person of Jesus Christ, that is, the preaching of his name, his teaching, his life, his promises and the Kingdom which he has gained for us by his Paschal Mystery. (246)
Individual Christians will be able to carry out their mission effectively to the extent that they make the life of the Son of God made man the perfect model for their work of spreading the Gospel. The simplicity of his manner and his choices must be normative for everyone in the work of evangelization. In this perspective, the poor will certainly be considered among the first to be evangelized, following the example of Christ, who said of himself: “The Spirit of the Lord . . . has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). (250)
As I have already noted, love for the poor must be preferential, but not exclusive. The Synod Fathers observed that it was in part because of an approach to the pastoral care of the poor marked by a certain exclusiveness that the pastoral care for the leading sectors of society has been neglected and many people have thus been estranged from the Church. (251) The damage done by the spread of secularism in these sectors — political or economic, union-related, military, social or cultural — shows how urgent it is that they be evangelized, with the encouragement and guidance of the Church's Pastors, who are called by God to care for everyone. They will be able to count on the help of those who — fortunately still numerous — have remained faithful to Christian values. In this regard the Synod Fathers have recognized “the commitment of many leaders to building a just and fraternal society”. (252) With their support, Pastors will face the not easy task of evangelizing these sectors of society. With renewed fervor and updated methods, they will announce Christ to leaders, men and women alike, insisting especially on the formation of consciences on the basis of the Church's social doctrine. This formation will act as the best antidote to the not infrequent cases of inconsistency and even corruption marking socio-political structures. Conversely, if this evangelization of the leadership sector is neglected, it should not come as a surprise that many who are a part of it will be guided by criteria alien to the Gospel and at times openly contrary to it.
She is called to proclaim that Christ is indeed the Living One, the Son of God, who became man, died and rose again. He alone is the Savior of every person and of the whole person; as the Lord of history, he is constantly at work in the Church and in the world through his Spirit, until the end of time. This presence of the Risen One in the Church makes it possible for us to encounter him, thanks to the invisible working of his life-giving Spirit. This encounter takes place in the faith received from and lived in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The encounter with Christ then has an essentially ecclesial dimension, and it leads to a life commitment. Indeed, “to encounter the living Christ means to accept the love by which he loves us first, to choose him, to adhere freely to his person and his plan, which consists in proclaiming and in bringing about the Kingdom of God”. (254)
The calling gives rise to a search for Jesus: “'Rabbi' (which means Teacher), 'where are you staying'. He said to them: 'Come and see'. They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed that day with him” (Jn 1:38-39). This “staying” is not limited to the day of one's call, but rather extends to the whole of life. To follow Jesus involves living as he lived, accepting his message, adopting his way of thinking, embracing his destiny and sharing his project, which is the plan of the Father: it involves inviting everyone to communion with the Trinity and to communion among ourselves in a just and fraternal society”. (255) The burning desire to invite others to encounter the One whom we have encountered is the start of the evangelizing mission to which the whole Church is called. This mission has become particularly urgent today in America, five hundred years after the first evangelization, as we prepare to commemorate with gratitude the two thousandth anniversary of the coming of the only-begotten Son of God into the world.
NEXT MONDAY: Installment twenty-three - Chapter Six: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH IN AMERICA TODAY: THE NEW EVANGELIZATION The Importance of Catechesis
This retro summer we present each Monday the best of Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW
This summer on Monday's we will present the opportunity to review any of Pat Ludwa's thirty-two columns for this year. Original ones will run in Thursday's issues, but in Monday's issues we bring you these archives. For Pat's past columns, click on VIEW FROM THE PEW ARCHIVES
O! Little children, your lenten season passes swiftly. I await your heart. I desire to give your heart to my Divine Son. O! Hear my plea, for unless you surrender your heart to my Divine Son you shall only suffer greater and greater darkness of the soul.
This is what I beseech all of my children to do this and every day. Place yourself at the foot of the Cross and be with my Divine Son in His Agony. See with the eyes of your soul His Most Sacred Heart pierced by the lance - the gaping wound in His side.
Then lift up your heart and place it in this Wound, and believe and trust that you have come to the very Font of Divine Mercy!
How priceless, how Infinite is Divine Mercy, my children! You must seek Mercy. You must learn to live Mercy in your life and in that way you live all that my Divine Son taught when He walked upon the earth.
Little ones of my Immaculate Heart, hear me. Great are the sorrows which befall mankind. Fear grips at every heart, because you are not surrendered to God, centered in my Divine Son.
Therefore, I say to all: The Hour of the Father's Justice draws closer. Only willing victim souls hold back the Justice so that Divine Mercy may still come to all the world. Pray much, my children, for Divine Mercy and practice this virtue at all times. Only then shall you know that all Scripture is now to be fulfilled. Only then will your faith grow strong as an anchor, and hope shall lift you up where love's wings shall swiftly bring you to Eternal Life.
Know that I love and bless you. I say again: Pray! Pray! Pray!
Thank you for responding to my Call!
Today, as the holy season of Lent continues its path to My Sacred Passion, Death and Resurrection, I say now to all My children: I Who Am loves you. I Who Am died for you. I Who Am rose from the dead so that those of faith would believe, and believing they would trust Me, and trusting Me they would wish to love Me!
But I solemnly say unto you very, very few there are in this enlightened age who truly seek to love Me with a pure love. They have not yet learned the secret to My Sacred Heart, nor do they trust Me, their God.
O! How saddened I am because this season of prayer and sacrifice produces for My children another chance to offer lip service, but never do their prayers rise from their hearts and therefore they do not reach My Heart.
Oh. Hear Me, O world. I Am. I Come again, and the Hour is much sooner than you think. You are poorly prepared, because you struggle so with your faith. How you, My children, like and prefer to argue faith instead of piously living it. I solemnly tell you all who argue religion for the sake of argument have a faith so shallow it shall evaporate in the Hour of Great Darkness, and they shall be swept into the abyss by My enemy.
My children, to truly love Me, know Me and serve Me, is very simple! In Scripture I told you that you must become as a little child! A little child trusts. A little child does not attempt anything on its own, but seeks always the wise counsel of its Father. Would you desire for your faith to be as a bonfire, which attracts many souls to Me? Then become as a little child through humble obedience to Me in all things through My One True Church.
Do not listen any longer to voices which dissent from My One True Church, but with great love pray ardently for all who are lost in the deceit of man and satan.
Humbly bow before Me and ask with sincere heart for the grace of full conversion of heart. Seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and let the Holy Spirit be your beloved guide with a holy priest along your spiritual journey.
Put down the multitude of books you read, which reach only your mind but leave your soul parched. It is not to everyone that I give the gift and grace to ponder wordy books about Me, and even of these few do not think that they know Me better and serve Me better than one who is always attuned to My Will in all matters and the one who has learned the value of ceaseless prayer from the heart.
Happy and blessed are the little ones, for to them I give wisdom beyond their years or ability.
Hearken to My words as you approach Holy Week. Let it be impressed upon your heart that the Passion of My Sacred Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is reality, and must be reality for you in your life. I am beside you and I give you all strength in these times.
Hear Me, o world, for the Hour comes when the Heavens shall pour forth Justice!
I Who Am have spoken. How much more has My Holy Mother spoken? Now Our Hearts weep, for all our words have nearly been spent. I begin now to call home My little messengers, those of wide fame and those known to only a few.
One by one I call them as each brings to fulfillment the mission I gave. Know the persecutions of the faithful remnant shall increase. Know that many shall be held up for libel, scandal and ridicule. All manner of lies shall be hurled at you. Be prepared and do not weaken, for the spiritual battle reaches its summit.
Therefore, come into the Refuge of My Sacred Heart which is the Font of Divine Mercy, and know no fear.
Hear Me and prepare. I Come!