January 29, 2021

Catholic Milan While Rome is the political capital of Italy and Assisi is considered the country’s spiritual heart, Milan is known as Italy’s commercial hub. While the capital of Lombardy’s worldly atmosphere of business and fashion dealings doesn’t necessarily bring to mind spirituality, Milan has, perhaps surprisingly, a long religious tradition. Few dioceses around the world can boast the presence of two of the four Latin Fathers and Doctors of the Church: St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. Saint Ambrose served… Read more

January 20, 2021

St. James of the Marches On the picturesque hill town of Monteprandone, in the lower area of the Marches region, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, are the incorrupt remains of St. James of the March (1393-1476). Childhood and Conversion This little-known Franciscan saint was born to a poor family and baptized with the name Domenico. As a boy, he tended to sheep as a shepherd. His father was abusive forcing Domenico to leave home early. He was taken in by an… Read more

January 18, 2021

(This is the second of a two-part article on Naples; click here for the link to the first) (Scroll to the bottom for Photo Gallery) The Presepe of San Gregorio Armeno The next stop on the pilgrimage route is not so much to a place as to a tradition: the famed Presepi (Nativity Scenes) of Naples. Directly in front of the basilica of San Paolo Maggiore is a small square. Just beyond it is the narrow, crowded street known as… Read more

January 16, 2021

(This is the first of a two-part article) Naples (Scroll to the bottom for Photo Gallery) Naples is a city of eccentricities and ironies, to be sure. Though the city is notorious for its urban plight including political corruption, high unemployment, awful traffic congestion, and petty crime, Neapolitans are fiercely proud of their city. Not only do Neapolitans excuse their city’s reputation as one of Italy’s most chaotic cities, they appear to revel in it. Whether it’s the frenzied roads,… Read more

January 14, 2021

Photo Gallery of Pietrelcina: The Birthplace of Padre Pio Not far from the city of Benevento in the region of Campania is Pietrelcina, a rural village of late medieval origins. For Catholics, it is renowned throughout the world as the birthplace of one of Italy’s most well-known modern saints. Often eclipsed by San Giovanni Rotondo, the lesser visited town of Pietrelcina contains numerous places associated with the saint’s childhood and the early part of his priesthood. Many visitors to Pietrelcina,… Read more

January 8, 2021

Saint Galgano St. Galgano was a knight from the twelfth century whose youth was characterized by wickedness and debauchery. That all changed having he had two visions of St. Michael the Archangel. While the details of his life and conversion are vague, what is certain is that he is forever linked to the legend of a sword lodged in a rock that is immovable to human hands. According to the hagiographical legends, Galgano was born in 1148 not far from… Read more

January 5, 2021

St. Pio of Pietrelcina When Padre Pio arrived in 1916, San Giovanni Rotondo was an insignificant town of ancient origins in the Gargano Mountains. The nearest cities were Foggia in the plains to the southwest and the port city of Manfredonia closer to the southeast. The pilgrimage city of Monte Sant’Angelo was across the wild Foresta Umbria. About two kilometers (1.5 miles) from the old town of San Giovanni Rotondo, among the barren rocks and vineyards of the Gargano Promontory,… Read more

December 30, 2020

The month of January owes its name etymologically to the Roman god, Janus. According to ancient mythology, he was a two-headed figure: one head faced backward, the other forward. He was believed to stand at the threshold of doors. In the calendar, his name attributed to the first month represents looking back at the end of the previous year as well as forward to the beginning of a new year. As our calendar transitions, this is a time for us,… Read more

December 21, 2020

Adolfo Affatato In April 2019, I had the joy of accompanying one of the last living spiritual sons of Padre Pio to the United States: Adolfo Affatato. When he was sixteen years old, Adolfo met Padre Pio through unusual circumstances. He spent the next fifteen years as a close spiritual son of the mystical saint until he died in 1968. Last year, Adolfo came to Atlanta, Tampa, and St. Louis to talk about the incredible things he witnessed – but… Read more

December 21, 2020

  Padre Pio St. Pio of Pietrelcina, affectionately known as Padre Pio, is one of the most well-known saints in Italy. He was born in 1887 to a poor family in the small town of Pietrelcina in Campania near Benevento. His mother named him Francesco after St. Francis of Assisi. As a child Francesco wanted to become a priest, but his parents could not afford to pay for his education. this was a scenario not uncommon in rural Italy in… Read more

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