50th Anniversary of Canonization
of St. Vincent Pallotti 1963-2013
Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud praises of God
United in the spirit of our beloved Founder with all the members of the Pallottine Family, collaborators, friends, associates I would like to share with you today my joy and gratitude for the Canonization of St. Vincent Pallotti. This event brought a new gush of wind from the Holy Spirit toward the Pallottine Family; new Pentecost at that time for the Church and the world. From then on all members were inflamed by the merits, life style and sanctity of the Founder. Also the words proclaimed in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope John XXIII encouraged them to work together more effectively in the vineyard of the Lord.
Fifty-one Pallottine Missionary Sisters participated in the memorable celebration in Rome. We are so fortunate to have some of these witnesses of this great event among us today. Together they experienced the gifts of the Cenacle, unity, and communion of our entire Pallottine Family and the people of Rome. That was a great and unforgettable happening for so many.
As Sr. Annemarie Niehsen from South Africa recalls: “To have been there for all this-to be close to the Holy Father Pope John XXIII, the atmosphere of the Holy City, to walk the streets where Vincent Pallotti lived, walked and ministered to the people, and to visit all the important and historical places was a great privilege and something I will always remember in gratitude and joy.”
Sr. Clementia Burkard on a post card dated Feast of St. Agnes 1963 wrote to her family in Germany: “Here at Rome, to experience the Church, the holy one! the unity – it is indescribable. This morning we followed holy Mass celebrated in the church of the Holy Redeemer, where St. Vincent Pallotti is placed under the altar. Here one can receive so much grace for all and for oneself. The encounter with Holiness ought to make us holy.”
That living fire of love which was rekindled in the hearts of our sisters at that time, and their love for the Founder, the atmosphere of unity and shared charity, is carried forward until today. I am happy to take this opportunity to express a word of gratitude toward these treasured people for being true Pallottines and witnesses of Christ. It is a blessing to have these zealous apostles among us. A personal witness is always more valuable than any written account found in a publication.
What is the message that we his daughters want to pass on today? First we must take pride in his prophetic vision and his efforts to stir up the faith and set all people afire with charity. Now Pallotti lives in our hearts and in the hearts of his sons - our Priests, Brothers and the lay faithful. Therefore, we shall go on fully committed, following faithfully Jesus Christ and walking the paths of the Founder. This anniversary of Canonization challenges us anew for holiness.
The Popes of our own time have consistently singled out Vincent Pallotti as a pioneer and model of evangelization for the lay apostolate. Notably, John Paul II called on all Pallottines to "continue to multiply your commitment so that which Vincent Pallotti prophetically announced, and the Second Vatican Council authoritatively confirmed, might become a happy reality, and that all Christians might become authentic apostles of Christ in the Church and the world!" I see how well this statement fits to the Year of Evangelization, and how our response to Pope Benedict’s call can be answered by faithfully following our Saint. Pallotti was not just a “man of his time” but a man for all times and especially for our time right now.
Dear Sisters, be conscious that the Holy Spirit is still at work today and St. Vincent Pallotti is just as timely as He was 50 and more years ago. We are marked by the grace of this event; therefore every encounter with the Founder makes us holy. I pray that this special time of the Founder’s Jubilee will bring an intense spiritual and apostolic renewal and awake a new spring of life for the Pallottine family. Make “The love of Christ urges us on” your lifelong song.
United in the spirit of St. Vincent Pallotti,
Sr. Izabela Świerad, SAC
Rome, 20 January 2013