Gaetano Catanoso

Infobox Saint
name=Saint Gaetano Catanoso
birth_date=February 14, 1879
death_date=April 4, 1963
feast_day= April 4
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church

caption=Commemorative plaque in a square in the town of Pentedattilo
birth_place=Chorio di San Lorenzo, Reggio Calabria, Italy
death_place=Reggio Calabria, Italy
beatified_date=4 May 1997
beatified_by=John Paul II
canonized_date=23 October 2005
canonized_place= Rome, Italy
canonized_by= Pope Benedict XVI

Saint Gaetano Catanoso (February 14, 1879 - April 4, 1963) was an Italian parish priest canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Born to a prosperous and generous family in Chorio, a small village outside of Reggio Calabria in the Aspromonte. Gaetano was one of eight children. He was ordained on September 20, 1902 and served as a parish priest his entire career. His first parish was in the remote hill village of Pentedattilo, where he served from 1904 until 1921. Extremely passionate about emulating the life of Christ in his service to the poor, Padre Catanoso would hike or ride on donkey to distant, surrounding mountain villages to bring the gospel and hope to isolated people in desperate circumstances. To help him in this cause, he founded an order of nuns -- the Veronican Sisters of the Holy Face in 1934.

The nuns were mostly young women from poor families who were inspired by Padre Gaetano's humility, devotion and mission. Together, they established elementary schools and homes for the elderly in tiny places like San Lorenzo, Roccaforte and Chorio to educate children and care for the old and sick. The goal was to combat ignorance and the Mafia through education and the word of God. Padre Catanoso also founded the Poor Clerics to encourage priestly vocations. He was transferred to Santa Maria de la Candelaria in Reggio, Calabria in 1921.

There he revived Marian and Eucharistic devotions, improved catechesis, and worked for observance of liturgical feasts. Worked for cooperation among local priests to provide missions by preaching and hearing confessions in each others parishes. Spiritual director for several religious institutions, a prison, hospital and seminary for decades. Through all of this service, he was also devoted to the Catanoso family of Chorio and Reggio, serving as a spiritual mentor and trusted counselor.

In return, the Catanoso family through the generations has supported his mission and his nuns with generous donations of funds and services. The Catanoso family continues this devotion to the late priest's church and nuns to this day. Padre Gaetano's mission has also spread to the Philippines and Tanzania. His rise to sainthood, which began in 1979, was remarkably rapid, just 26 years from start to finish. Most causes for sainthood take many decades or even centuries. On May 4, 1997 Pope John Paul II beatified him and on October 23, 2005 Pope Benedict XVI canonized him. Two healing miracles have been researched, verified and attributed to him by the Vatican.

An American relative of the saint, journalist Justin Catanoso of Greensboro, North Carolina, has written a family a memoir about Padre Gaetano Catanoso. The book is titled "My Cousin the Saint -- A Search for Faith, Family and Miracles." It will be released by William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, in June 2008.

External links

* [ Saints of April 4: Gaetano Catanoso]
* [ Synod press release]
* [ Patron Saints]
* [ Den hellige Cajetan Catanoso]
* [ Santie beati: Gaetano Catanoso]

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