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BEATIFICATION OF FR. JUSTIN MARIA RUSSOLILLO
NAPLES, ITALY – MAY 7, 2011
Born: January 18, 1891
Ordained: September 20, 1913
Founded the Congregation: October 18, 1920 (Fathers)
October 1, 1921 (Sisters)
Died: August 2, 1955
Venerated: December 18, 1997 by Pope John Paul II
Beatified: May 7, 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI
Feast Day: August 2
On this magnificent day, more than twenty thousand people were present to witness the beatification of Fr. Justin Maria Russolillo. Sisters, members of the clergy, lay associates and friends of the Vocationist Fathers and Sisters journeyed from fourteen different countries to Pianura, to participate in this beautiful and memorable moment in the Congregation’s history. How privileged we felt to be part of the great celebration of this historical moment.
Also present was Gaetanina Ida Meloro, the woman who, in 1998, benefitted from the miracle of healing through the intercession of Fr. Justin, a miracle which has facilitated his beatification. She was miraculously healed of cancer after praying to Fr. Justin.
The ceremony was presided over by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints who was sent by Pope Benedict XVI, and concelebrated by two cardinals and thirty bishops, as well as four hundred priests (from Brazil to the United States, from Argentina to Nigeria, the Philippines to India and to Madagascar, from Colombia to Ecuador, and Indonesia to Wales).
The celebration was seen all over the world and had moments of great emotion, such as the exposure of the relics of the Blessed Justin. A covered portrait of Fr. Justin was ceremoniously unveiled as he was proclaimed “Blessed”. The request made by the postulator of the case, Reverend James Capraro, SDV, was presented and while the choir and congregation sang a hymn of praise, the image of Blessed Justin was unveiled. Mother Antonietta Colafemmina, Superior General of the Vocationist Sisters, then placed the relic of the newly Blessed Justin on the altar to be incensed. The Bishop of Pozzuoli then gave thanks to the Holy Father saying. “The Church in Pozzuoli, together with the Society of Divine Vocations, is devotedly thankful and grateful to the successor of the Apostle Peter, Pope Benedict XVI.” A hymn of praise was sung with a beautiful demonstration from the crowd as they were seen waving their hands in glory to God.
Other beautiful and exciting moments were accompanied by lengthy applause, such as the homily of Cardinal Amato and the remarks by Father Louis Caputo, SDV. Following the ceremony, there was an explosion of great bliss by those present and by Vocationist devotees around the world who followed the event live on TV and via the internet.
The people of Pianura who hold Blessed Justin in special esteem were there to witness the beatification of their beloved Fr. Justin…..To sense the charism of Blessed Justin in the great event that took place and to experience the warmth and the prayerfulness of those who participated added so much joy to the beatification. The population of devotees of Fr. Justin was able to express their joy and gratitude to the Lord in echoes of applause and cries of joy, all this after a long wait of prayers and supplications, fifty six years after the death of Fr. Justin.