71 Central St. Stoneham, MA 02180

Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria

Feast date: Jul 05

On July 5, the Catholic Church remembers Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria. A renowned preacher and promoter of Eucharistic adoration, he founded the order of priests now known as the Barnabites.

In 2001, the future Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, wrote the preface for a book on St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, praising the saint as “one of the great figures of Catholic reform in the 1500s,” who was involved “in the renewal of Christian life in an era of profound crisis.”

The Italian saint, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “deserves to be rediscovered” as “an authentic man of God and of the Church, a man burning with zeal, a demanding forger of consciences, a true leader able to convert and lead others to good.”

Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born into an Italian family of nobility in Cremona during 1502. His father Lazzaro died shortly after Anthony's birth, and his mother Antonietta – though only 18 years old – chose not to marry again, preferring to devote herself to charitable works and her son's education.

Antonietta's son took after her in devotion to God and generosity toward the poor. He studied Latin and Greek with tutors in his youth, and was afterward sent to Pavia to study philosophy. He went on to study medicine at the University of Padua, earning his degree at age 22 and returning to Cremona.

Despite his noble background and secular profession, the young doctor had no intention of either marrying or accumulating wealth. While caring for the physical conditions of his patients, he also encouraged them to find spiritual healing through repentance and the sacraments.

Anthony also taught catechism to children, and went on to participate in the religious formation of young adults. He eventually decided to withdraw from the practice of medicine, and with the encouragement of his spiritual director he began to study for the priesthood.

Ordained a priest at age 26, Anthony is said to have experienced a miraculous occurrence during his first Mass, being surrounded by a supernatural light and a multitude of angels during the consecration of the Eucharist. Contemporary witnesses marveled at the event, and testified to it after his death.

Church life in Cremona had suffered decline in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The new priest encountered widespread ignorance and religious indifference among laypersons, while many of the clergy were either weak or corrupt.

In these dire circumstances, Anthony Mary Zaccaria devoted his life to proclaiming the truths of the Gospel both clearly and charitably. Within two years, his eloquent preaching and tireless pastoral care is said to have changed the moral character of the city dramatically.

In 1530, Anthony moved to Milan, where a similar spirit of corruption and religious neglect prevailed. There, he decided to form a priestly society, the Clerics Regular of St. Paul.

Inspired by the apostle's life and writings, the order was founded on a vision of humility, asceticism, poverty, and preaching. After the founder's death, they were entrusted with a prominent church named for St. Barnabas, and became commonly known as the “Barnabites.”

The priest also founded a women's religious order, the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul; and an organization, the Laity of St. Paul, geared toward the sanctification of those outside the priesthood and religious life. He pioneered the “40 Hours” devotion, involving continuous prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

In 1539, Anthony became seriously ill and returned to his mother's house in Cremona. The founder of the Clerics Regular of St. Paul died on July 5, during the liturgical octave of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, at the age of only 36.

Nearly three decades after his death, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria's body was found to be incorrupt. He was beatified by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1849, and declared a saint by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.

Visiting the Madonna Shrine in East Boston

Hello and welcome! Last Thursday evening, I went to the Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine in East Boston for an outdoor Mass to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of St. Luigi Orione, the founder of the Orione Fathers who run the shrine. It was very interesting when Father Gino, the elder Don […]

A day many thought would never come

As a young seminarian, I spent some time in Germany studying German.  There in Bavaria, I was impressed by the fact that, in the center of each of the villages, there was a small replica of the Berlin Wall with a sign that read in German, “A wall divides the German people.” Like so many, […]

The USCCB June Assembly

Hello and welcome! Saturday, I traveled to Pittsburgh to celebrate the priestly ordination of two Capuchins from my province – Brother Andrew Corriente and Brother David Domanski. Brother Andrew is one of our more famous friars because he won “The Great American Baking Show.” The ordination was held in St. Augustine’s Church, the very church […]

Ordaining five new transitional deacons

Hello and welcome! Since the spring, Father Andrea Filippucci has been on loan to the Diocese of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. And now, Father Victor Vitug will be joining him to work at St. Joseph’s Parish on St. Croix. So, they both came to meet with me last Friday. Father Andrea has had some challenges […]

Installing Father Oliveira in Revere

Hello and welcome! Last Friday, I went to St. Barbara Church in Woburn to celebrate the funeral Mass of Father Tom Powers, who passed away last Friday — the 27th anniversary of his ordination — after battling cancer for several years. There were, of course, a large number of people there, as Father Powers was […]

Seven new priests for Boston

Hello and welcome, I want to begin this week by sharing with you the statement I issued earlier this week regarding the tragic events in Uvalde, Texas: Today’s tragedy in Uvalde, Texas leaves us all stunned by the unthinkable loss of so many innocent young lives and the teacher who devoted her life to educating […]

The Spring Presbyteral Convocation

Hello and welcome! Last Friday, I spoke with Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Rite Catholic Church. They have several dioceses in the U.S., including an archdiocese headquartered in Philadelphia. As a result of the generosity of Catholics here in Boston, we have […]

The right to life

Hello and welcome! I was sent a number of photos in recent days of the Capuchin Pan-American gathering that I spoke about last week. With our Father General With Father Greco, the provincial of the New York province This one shows our celebration of Capuchins from the Americas whose causes have been introduced for canonization. […]

The Pan-American Capuchin Gathering

Hello and welcome! As I left off last week, I explained that I attended the Rector’s Dinner at the Pontifical North American College last Thursday evening. They had not been able to hold the dinner for two years, so it was wonderful to be able to gather with friends and benefactors of the seminary once […]