Don Russolillo, the apostle of vocations and sanctification

On Sunday, May 15, Pope Francis presides over the celebration of the Eucharist and the rite of canonization of 10 beats, including that of the founder of the vocationist family, in the cemetery of St. Peter’s Basilica. Father Giacomo Capraro, postulator of the cause of canonization of Don Giustino Russolillo: “The formation of the saints was the purpose of their relationship with their neighbor”

Amedeo Lomonaco – Vatican City

Giustino Maria Russolillo is known as “the saint of Pianura”. Born on January 18, 1891 in this neighborhood on the western outskirts of the city of Campania, from an early age he felt a strong desire to dedicate himself to God as a priest. At the age of ten he entered the seminary of Pozzuoli. On the day of his ordination to the priesthood, September 20, 1913, he made the solemn vow to found a religious congregation “for the worship, service, and apostolate of God’s vocations to faith, to the priesthood, to holiness. ». From this original inspiration were born the religious congregations of vocationists. After the outbreak of World War I, he was sent to the military hospital. Since September 20, 1920, he has been rector of the church of San Giorgio Martire in the Pianura district. By celebrating the sacraments, it shows that you are living them to the fullest. This is seen in the expression on his face or in the tears that sometimes accompany the liturgical celebration. The center of his spirituality and apostolate is the Trinity. He died on August 2, 1955. He was beatified in Naples on May 7, 2011.

“The priest is not going to please the man, but to help the souls. We need the gospel to be fully observed, fully spread. (Giustino Russolillo, Agenda Collection, July 27, 1952) “

The miracle

On October 27, 2020, Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of the decree approving a miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Giustino Russolillo. It is about the healing of a young vocationist religious from Madagascar. Found on the floor in his room between bloodstains, he is hospitalized in very serious condition due to damage to the respiratory system. All the confreres pray to “Don Giustino” for healing. One of them carries an image of the beat and places it on the body of the sick religious. A few days later, the young man’s condition suddenly improved and the religious vocationist came out of his coma until he was discharged. On May 15, 2022, Don Giustino Russolillo will be canonized in St. Peter’s Square and inscribed on the Church’s list of saints.

Don Giustino Russolillo as a young man

Don Giustino Russolillo as a young man

A life for young people and the unity of families

The paths of vocation and sanctification are the two directions in which the life of the “saint of the Plain” developed. This is what he emphasizes seems Giacomo Capraropostulator of the cause of canonization of Blessed Giustino Russolillo.

Listen to the interview with Father Giacomo Capraro

Don Giustino Russolillo dedicated his life to young people called by God to be priests or religious. What is your legacy?

Don Giustino Russolillo, priest of the clergy of the diocese of Pozzuoli, will go down in history as an apostle of vocations. But at the same time, he can also be defined as an apostle of universal sanctification. His relationship with others had a dual purpose. The formation of the saints was the purpose of their relationship with their neighbor: the saint, he said, is the masterpiece of God, the splendor of the glory of the Lord. Then there is the other purpose: the formation of priests. The priest, said Don Giustino, is the minister of God in making saints.

Don Giustino Russolillo was a suburban rector. Plain, at that time, was the extreme periphery of Naples. In this neighborhood, Fr. Giustino carried out his mission working hard for young people and also for the unity of families …

Don Giustino was ordained a priest in 1913 and in 1920 became rector of the parish. It often happened during his time as rector that some children told him that he could no longer stand his parents’ fights. These children said to Don Giustino, “Come, take a good word and they may change.” It often happened that Don Giustino, invited by the children, went to the houses to meet his parents. He spoke to them about the beauty and sanctity of marriage, the duty to set a good example for children to build the citizens of tomorrow. When he saw that the spirits had calmed down, referring to the image of the Sacred Heart, he said to the spouses: “When something goes wrong between you, it means that love is diminishing and you are in crisis. You are in a dangerous time. Do this: look at that Heart you loved so much and you will definitely improve your relationship. And your children and society as a whole will benefit. ”

Statue of Don Giustino Russolillo in the Plain (Naples)

Statue of Don Giustino Russolillo in the Plain (Naples)

The canonization of Don Giustino Russolillo is, in particular, also a sign of hope for the city of Naples and for the district of Pianura, where the future of many young people is, unfortunately, marred by organized crime …

The Municipality of Naples sponsored this great event to give a special signal to young people following the example of this priest. Don Giustino spent his day, especially from 1913 to 1920, among young people to make them understand the dignity of each vocation. And instill in their young hearts the commitment of fidelity, of being supportive of the society that really needs young people.

What would Don Giustino Russolillo say today to the young people of Naples and in particular of La Plana?

Don Giustino wrote to the seminarians and said: “Study hard! Don’t waste time because as a student you can better understand how society evolves. And then, through intelligence, you enter the evolutionary process to provide intelligent service to the changing society.

Vocationalists around the world

Vocationalists around the world

The vocationist family

The Society of Divine Vocations, also known as “vocationists”, was founded by Fr. Giustino Russolillo in Pianura in 1920. A year later the vocationist nuns were founded, with the task of being “mothers of vocations”. . The vocationist charism is linked to the search, formation and education, especially among the poor, of young people who feel called by God to the priestly and religious life. The vocational family includes parents, sisters, and the secular institute of universal sanctification. Many groups of lay people share the vocationist charism: among them are the “friends of Fr. Justin”, the cooperating vocation missionaries, the small prayer groups of Fr. Justin ”, parish vocational groups and many others. The vocationist family is present in 18 countries, including Italy, Spain, Brazil, the United States, Nigeria, India and Indonesia.

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