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.

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