Monday, October 22, 2007

A Saint for Today, October 22

In the Pauline world of about 10,000 members worldwide, we celebrate the feast day of our first "Blessed" Father Timothy Joseph Giaccardo today. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 22, 1989. Father Timothy was the right hand man of our Founder, Father James Alberione. Alberione had met young Joseph Giaccardo while he served for a few months as assistant pastor in the parish of St. Bernard's in Narzole, Italy. The young priest noticed a definite goodness in one of the boys in the parish and invited him to pursue a priestly vocation. The boy, Joseph Giaccardo, explained that he would like to become a priest, but his family was too poor to afford to pay for his studies. Father Alberione found benefactors who paid the necessary expenses. Alberione was one of the professors at the seminary in Alba, northern Italy, where Giaccardo studied. Father Alberione, although relatively young, was also the seminary's spiritual director. Under his guidance, Joseph Giaccardo grew in virtue and in the desire to use the media--especially the printed word--for God. In the early 1900's, there was a wave of bitter anti-clericalism in Italy multiplied by printing presses which poured out newspapers and magazines which ridiculed religion and the Church. The message conveyed in many publications was (in today's words) that "it's not cool to be Catholic; nor to be a believer in God."
Father Alberione had his heart set on using the very same media--books, magazines, newspaper, movies and all the media--for God and for the Church.
In due time, Father Alberione with a small band of young boys began his mission work of setting up printing establishments "for God." His first endeavor was the diocesan paper The Alba Gazette, or in Italian La Gazzetta D'Alba. Soon other dioceses asked the newly formed Society of St. Paul to print their weekly papers and bulletins. When Joseph was still a seminarian, drawing closer to ordination, he asked permission from his bishop to join Father Alberione. He wanted to be a priest and a writer. In the foosteps of St. Paul, he wanted to reach people through the printed word. When he took his first vows, Joseph added the name Timothy. As St. Timothy was a faithful disciple of Paul, so Giaccardo became a disciple of Christ by working closely with Father Alberione. Whether it was a writing project or celebrating a Mass for one of the women's Pauline congregations, Father Timothy was ready to put his heart and soul into his work. Father Timothy died in January of 1948. He can be considered a new patron for writers, journalists and media producers.
In the picture to your right, we see an artist's rendition of Blessed Timothy. On the left is a shot of the altar dedicated to Blessed Timothy in the parish where he was baptized,St. Bernard's in Narzole, Italy.

Book Signing and Other Activites

Before I left for Boston we held our once-a-year Everything On Sale Day at Toronto's Pauline Books & Media Centre. During the Sale Day I took time from greeting our patrons to present some of the background of the books I wrote, "Tender Mercies, Prayers for Healing and Coping," and I signed copies which people had purchased.
On October 18, I gave a more "formal" presentation on the book complete with Power Point slides and more in depth background. I am pleased and somewhat humbled that so many are being helped by "Tender Mercies." One of my sisters told me yesterday that she gave "Tender Mercies" as a gift to the Ursuline Sister who was my first grade teacher. Sister said,"It made my day!" I am one of the hundreds or thousands whom Sister Mary Jeanne touched with her smiling and patient ways. Now aged 82, Sister works as a nurse. I still have many happy memories of First Grade where a very young Sister Jeanne taught us reading, writing, arithmetic
(in our day "math" was not yet in vogue), and religion. Our reader books were called "Alice and Jerry." I am grateful to Sister Jeanne for getting me off to a great start in the academic world!
In the Catholic Exponent, the newspaper of my home diocese, Youngstown, Ohio, there was an interview published about myself and the book, "Tender Mercies." If you would like to read the full article, please go to this link and click on "Local News":

October -- "Actober"

Last night as I watched the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians in game seven of their playoffs, I saw the word "actober" flashed on the screen. That said a lot. October is so crammed with events for some of us that it is full of action.
I began this month in Boston, Massachusetts where I attended the Pauline Cooperators National Convention. (It is really the North American Convention, since I came from Canada.)
The Convention took place at St. Thecla's Retreat House which is in Billerica, Mass. That is about 20 miles north of Boston. St. Thecla's is a good place for meetings and retreats, since the neighborhood still has a semi-rural air about it. There is little traffic to create noise which allows for better meditation, and listening.
Our main speaker was Father Kevin Kersten, a Jesuit priest currently assigned to Boston College. Father has an impressive list of credentials in the field of communications. He gave an enthusiastic presentation on using media for God, and in a very positive way.
Father Jeffrey Mickler came from Canfield, Ohio to be the homilist and for his own spiritual input into our meeting. Besides his spirituality, Father lent very practical help by being the videographer.
I too gave a presentation on the Pauline Family's four wheels: prayer/piety; study/willingness to learn from everything; apostolate/mission and poverty/stewardship of all our gifts and resources. To illustrate the points I used movie clips from Entertaining Angels (Dorothy Day's story); from The Lord of the Rings, part 1; from The Rookie (with Dennis Quade); and from the Italian Job. The energy used to outfit the mini-Coopers made it really clear how all involved used their particular gifts to achieve the final end....
Here are a few pictures from the Convention: