Servite Priest (1819-1892)
+ Eustace Pucci was born in a small town near Florence, Italy. His father supported the large family by working as sacristan of a poor parish.
+ Eustace felt called to enter religious life, but his father opposed this decision. After some time, however, he was able to fulfill this desire and became a member of the Servite Order, receiving the religious name “Atonio Maria.”
+ Following his ordination to the priesthood in 1843, he was assigned to serve as the parish of Sant’Andrea in Viareggio; he would remain in this post until his death.
+ Known as the Il Curatino (the “Little Parish Priest”) he showed special solicitude for the poor and sick. In 1853, he founded an institute for the education of the local children and established a seaside hostel for the sick and poor children of the village.
+ On the night of January 6, 1892, he went out in a storm to offer assistance to a person who was ill and contracted the pneumonia which would claim his own life on January 12.
+ Saint Antony Mary Pucci was canonized by Pope Saint John XXIII in 1962.
For prayer and reflection
“The priest who seldom goes out of himself… misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart… This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in a sense collectors of antiquities or novelties — instead of being shepherds living with ‘the smell of the sheep.’ This is what I am asking you — be shepherds with the smell of sheep.”—Pope Francis, Homily for Holy Thursday 2013
O God, light of the faithful and shepherd of souls,
who set blessed Antony Mary Pucci in the Church
to feed your sheep by his words and form them by his example,
grant that through his intercession
we may keep the faith he taught by his words
and follow the way he showed by his example.
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 One Pastor)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.