Today marks the Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850), an Italian priest who founded a religious order. Born to a noble Roman family, he taught theology after his ordination in 1820. But his real interest was in pastoral work, and his goal was to form a collaborative program between clergy, religious and laity, known as the Union of the Catholic Apostolate. His larger goal was to “revive faith and rekindle charity.” In 1835, he founded the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, popularly known as the Pallottines. He also founded workers’ guilds, agricultural schools, loan associations, orphanages, and homes for girls. Long before the phrase “Catholic Action” came into being, St. Vincent was one of its foremost practitioners. The Pallottines came to America in the 1880’s, ministering to the Italian immigrants coming to New York in ever growing numbers. In 1963, St. Vincent was canonized. Today the community he founded conducts parishes, retreat centers, and high schools like St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Maryland, which includes among its alumni a certain distinguished Deacon Blogger.
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