Celebrating the liturgical memorial of Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, first Pauline priest of the Pauline Family

Blessed Timothy Giaccardo
On the 19th of October, in the Pauline Family throughout the world, we recall the memorial of Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, first Pauline priest and a powerful intercessor for our Congregation. Up until two years ago, the memorial was on the 22nd of October but an indult was received from the Holy See to move the feast as it was now the day assigned for the memorial of Pope John Paul II.

 Back in 1928, the Founder, Father Alberione had set apart several Daughters of St. Paul, the first female Congregation in our religious family  to form the nucleus of a new community, one dedicated solely to contemplation and the liturgical apostolate. Both Fr. Alberione and Fr. Giaccardo realized the importance of contemplative prayer to support and enliven the various works of the Congregations that make up the Pauline Family. However, the Holy See advised that no separation from the Daughters of St. Paul would be allowed. The Founder ordered his vicar general, Father Timothy, to assume communication with the Holy See. Father Giaccardo's "mission" called for a good deal of sensitivity and tact, as he delicately set about the task of "helping" the Holy See change its mind. He was successful, and approbation for our Congregation came on  the 12th of January 1948.

Sr. M. Luciana Lazzarini, pddm
Father Giaccardo had made an offering of his life for that intention, and it was evidently received: when he heard the news, he was bedridden with acute leukaemia. Nevertheless, Father Giaccardo insisted on celebrating a Mass of thanksgiving with the members of the new Congregation. He collapsed during the Liturgy and died twelve days later. It was the feast day of his patron, St. Timothy, the faithful companion, collaborator and friend of St. Paul.
On the 9th of May1985, Pope John Paul II declared Father Timothy Giaccardo "venerable." Four years later, papal confirmation was given of the miracle attributed to his intercession. Sister Mary Luciana Lazzarini, a Sister Disciple of the Divine Master stationed in Japan, had been dying of "bilateral pulmonary tuberculosis." In July, 1954, at the end of a novena made to Father Giaccardo, she was completely and instantaneously cured. Later, the head physician  of the sanatorium in Japan converted to Catholicism, along with his children.

As the first beatified member of the Pauline Family, Father Timothy Giaccardo is outstanding also as the first modern-day apostle whose life was consecrated for the explicit purpose of evangelisation with the media. His life is witness to the fruitfulness of contemplation joined with action--a call to fullest union with the Divine Master. It is fitting also that his feastday used to be the same day as the now liturgical memorial of Saint Pope John Paul II, the same Pope who beatified Blessed Timothy in 1989. May these two great men, who worked tirelessly to bring young people to Christ, continue to intercede for us.

Pope John Paul II prays at the tomb of
Bl. Timothy Giaccardo whom he beatified in 1989.