Redemptorist Priest (1702-1744)
+ Gennaro Maria was born in Naples. A diligent and faithful student, he was attracted to the Jesuits as a young man, in large part because of his devotion to Saint Francis Xavier and the beatification of Saint John Francis Regis.
+ After earning a doctorate in civil and canon law, he volunteered in the hospital of the Incurables and it was there that his understanding of his vocation matured.
+ In 1728, he gave up his legal career and began studies for the priesthood. Ordained a priest in 1732, he eventually made the acquaintance of Saint Alphonsus Maria de’Liguori. The following year, he became one of the first members of Saint Alphonsus’ new community, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists).
+ Gennaro Maria returned to Naples and spent the next decade serving the city’s poor, living in small apartment with another member of his community. As he became aware of the exploitation of young women, he became a fierce opponent of prostitution and human trafficking (as we would recognize it today).
+ Gennaro Maria was a gifted writer and left behind voluminous correspondence, sermons, and treatises.
+ His health began to fail in April 1744 and he was aware that the end of his life was approaching. Blessed Gennaro Maria died on June 30, 1744.
+ Beatified in 1996, he has come to be honored as a patron of writers and of missionaries.
For prayer and reflection
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to captives,
release to prisoners.”—Isaiah 61:1
On June 30, the Church also celebrates the first martyrs of the Church of Rome. These women, men, and children, whose names are known to God alone, were murdered by order of the Emperor Nero in the year 64. The story of their sufferings were recorded in the writings of Tacitus and Pope Saint Clement I.
O God, who gave increase to your Church through the zeal for religion and apostolic labors of blessed Gennaro, grant, through his intercession, that she may always receive new growth in faith and in holiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors—For Missionaries)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.