St.Vincent Pallotti, the Patron of our Parish, was born to Petro Paolo Pallotti and Maria Maddalena de Rossi in Rome on April 21, 1795. He was raised in a loving family. His mother was a very spiritual woman and his father, a pious merchant. Vincent’s regard for his parents is very clear from the words he uttered at his father’s grave: “God gave me pious parents.”
Call to Priesthood
As a teenager, Vincent Pallotti joined the seminary to become a diocesan priest and was ordained on May 16, 1818. Fittingly, it took place in the month of May because Pallotti was very devoted to Mary and as a priest carried with him a picture of the Madonna always.
Transformation to An Apostle
The core of Pallotti’s spirituality is the humility arising from a deep sense of his sinfulness and the joy springing from his overwhelming awareness of God’s infinite love and mercy. Contemplation of this God of love made him a mystic and his response of this love made him an apostle. This
Formation of the Union of Catholic Apostolate
Pallotti knew that without the co-operation of others he would not be able to help those in need. God saw Pallotti’s deep desire to help others and inspired him to found the Union of the Catholic Apostolate, an organization that extended equal membership to the laity, the religious and the clergy, and accorded equal merit to every work undertaken by them. It was in keeping with Pallotti’s vision of the Church where everyone had an active role to play in proclaiming the Kingdom. The principal goal of the Union is to promote in every possible way, the increase of spiritual and temporal means for the spreading of faith and love. This Union, which has Mary, Queen of Apostles, as it’s Patroness, received the approval of Pope Gregory XVI on July 14, 1835.
Emergence of the Communities for Women
The Society of Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine Fathers and Brothers) was the core group of this Union. Vincent Pallotti also founded a Community of Sisters. For he knew that women were indispensable in every apostolic effort. He was also aware that women had to suffer more hardships and inequalities than men in his time. When the number of orphan girls in Rome increased due to the deadly cholera epidemic, Pallotti looked after them with the help of a few dedicated women. These women were the forerunners of the Sisters of the Catholic Apostate.
Pallotti's Definition of Holiness
Though Vincent Pallotti worked many miracles during his lifetime he refused to equate holiness with extraordinary powers. He also dismissed the notion of a particular state of life being superior to others in attaining holiness. According to him, holiness consisted in doing God’s will in whatever state of life one is in. Just as everyone is called to be an apostle like Jesus, everyone is called to be holy like him.
Unity In Diversity
Pallotti regarded the plurality in the Church as a sign of unity as well as universality. To highlight this unity in diversity, he initiated the solemn celebration of the Epiphany Octave in which liturgical services were conducted in various rites and languages. He was only too well aware of how the Church is enriched by her linguistic and liturgical diversity.
Death And Canonization
During the Epiphany Octave of 1850, Vincent Pallotti gave his overcoat away to someone in need while hearing confessions. He never recovered from the bad cold he caught as a result and the pleurisy that developed. He died on January 22nd, 1850. A century later, Pallotti was beatified by Pope Pius XII. He was canonised by Pope John XXIII on January 20, 1963.
Vincent Pallotti is a modern saint who believed that God has given us the gift of freedom so that we might gain merits for our acts of goodness. He was aware, however, that this freedom leads to abuse created things given as gifts resulting in the destruction of our earth. He calls for the renewal of our faith and love so that we may communicate lovingly and responsibly with our brothers and sisters and all created things.