Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the vicar of Rome, formally closed the diocesan phase of Giaquinta’s cause for beatification in a rite held at the Lateran Apostolic Palace on Feb. 12.
In this phase, Pugliese explained, the tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome had the objective of collecting “documents and writings to learn about the life and thought of the Servant of God, as well as finding testimonies about the exercise of human and Christian virtues and possible traces of a reputation for holiness.”
It was Pugliese’s responsibility, as postulator, to guide this process.
“In the 10 years in which I have looked after the cause of the bishop and founder Giaquinta, I have been able to understand many aspects of his person and his charism,” she said.
“I have discovered a precious treasure of spirituality, perhaps hidden from a superficial gaze, but really profound, with a prophetic characteristic and an optimistic sense of life.”
Her role was “that of bearing witness to all this before the Church and the world,” she said.
Pugliese explained that “it was a long and complex work due to the richness of the personality of Bishop Giaquinta,” but the outcome of the investigation into his life has been “entirely positive and fruitful.”
Now, the diocese gives wax-sealed boxes of the evidence it has gathered to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, “where the collected documentation will be examined to ascertain the degree of the candidate’s evangelical witness and [whether] to declare him venerable,” the postulator said.
De Donatis said Friday, the day before the feast of Our Lady of Trust, to whom Giaquinta had a strong devotion, that the Servant of God lived a simple, even “ascetic” lifestyle, and offered “an authentic evangelization of the Gospel.”
“His witness of ordinary holiness in daily life and of how radical availability to God’s grace can transform one’s heart and the whole world is a witness we need,” Jessi Kary, an apostolic oblate and the national director of Pro Sanctity in the United States, told CNA via email.
“His life can draw priests more deeply into the heart of the priestly vocation and help them discover more deeply how to receive from the source, Christ the Priest,” she said.
“Bishop Giaquinta also assists the laity in discovering the amazing invitation to become a saint,” she continued, “and very practical ways in which to respond to that call in the ordinary circumstances of daily life.”
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Born in Noto, Sicily, in 1914, Giaquinta was a mischievous child. One episode from his childhood he would often recount is wanting to collect stamps to send to people in Africa, and how he would skip school to do it.
The truancy got him in trouble with his father, who decided to send him to a high school seminary to be taught by priests. This moment marked a turning point for Giaquinta, who said, “at the instant that I entered the door of that school, I knew with certainty that I had to become a priest. It was a certainty that never left me. It was a mystery of the priestly vocation.”
He was ordained in 1939, offering his first Mass the next day, on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, who became an important saint in his life.
The young priest began his ministry in the Diocese of Rome and took on some duties at the vicariate.
Giaquinta would wake up at 4 a.m. every day to spend three to four hours in study and prayer.
He would also often spend up to five hours a day hearing confessions, as people would form long lines to wait to receive the sacrament from him.