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New Jersey parish celebrates canonization of St. Justin Russolillo


Julio Eduardo Herrera for the Archdiocese of Newark | Jersey Catholic

Philip Kosloski - published on 06/04/22

St. Michael's Parish in Newark, New Jersey is served by priests from the Vocationists, an order founded by St. Justin Russolillo.

On May 15, 2022, Pope Francis canonized 10 saints, including St. Justin Russolillo, founder of the Society of Divine Vocations (Vocationists).

The Italian priest founded his new order in 1927, hoping to foster vocations among the faithul. The official website of the order explains his unique mission.

Fr. Justin established the Vocationist Fathers and their special charism to foster and promote vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and holiness among all God’s people. To carry on this vocational work Fr. Justin established the Vocationary, a special house of formation that would supply vocations to both religious order and diocesan seminaries.

His work was not restricted to Italy, as it started to expand around the world.

In particular, St. Justin began a mission in the United States, as Fr. Louis Caputo explained to

We Vocationists came to the United States and this area because Josephine, sister of St. Justin, lived in Asbury Park, and it was the saint’s desire to open a mission here … As such, St. Michael of Newark became the first parish that welcomed Spanish-speakers in 1964, then later, immigrants from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Today, we still maintain the only Catholic school in the area.

Fr. Louis also gave a brief summary of St. Justin’s mission and how it is still relevant today.

The figure of this saint must be known not only in our archdiocese but throughout the United States because he is a universal soul. Based on the principle that we are all called to be saints and that it is through the church and priests that universal holiness is promoted.

To celebrate the canonization of St. Justin, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, archbishop of Newark, celebrated a special Mass for the diocese and the Vocastionists serving in the area.

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