January 25, 2015 – External Solemnity of St. Vincent Pallotti

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St.Vincent Pallotti was a remarkable man, marked by holiness and vision for the Church. He was truly ahead of his time, as he gave a call for all the lay people to fully realize their vocation in the Church.

St. Vincent Pallotti was born in Rome, on April 21st, 1795. He was ordained priest on the 16th of May, 1818. On the 4th of April, 1835, he founded the Union of Catholic Apostolate, bringing together priests, men and women religious, and lay people, united as a faith community for the common purpose of living and spreading the Good News. In 1846, he formed a community of priests and brothers, now known as the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine Fathers). He died on the 22nd of January, 1850, at the center of his new community, the church of San Salvatore, in Onda, Rome. He was beatified by Pius XII on the 22nd of January, 1950, and proclaimed a Saint by John XXIII, on January 20th, 1963.

St. Vincent Pallotti gave special emphasis to the fact that every Christian has received from Christ a mission for the Church and for the world. He was aware that bishops, priests, and religious cannot carry the total responsibility for evangelization. Lay people, too, have the obligation and the right to actively participate in the mission of the Church. This concept was new at the time of Vincent Pallotti and, to implement it, he founded the Union of Catholic Apostolate. He meant this Union to be an association of priests, religious, and lay people who, together, would strive to awaken in all a consciousness of their call to the apostolate of Jesus Christ. Moreover, they are called to bring this consciousness to all parts of the world.

In every age, God has been generous in giving special gifts of the Holy Spirit to certain men and women, in order to continue the mission of Christ for the salvation of humankind and to promote the growth of the Church. During the first half of the 19th century, St. Vincent Pallotti was among those whom God enriched with his gifts and inspiration for the purpose of aiding the Church in fulfilling her mission.

Because of the worsening crisis of faith in his time, and because of the growth of the Church’s work in the missions, Pallotti saw the urgent need to revive the faith of Catholics, to renew their love, and unite all in Christ.