St. Vincent Pallotti, the patron of our parish, was born to Petro Paolo Pallotti and Maria Maddalena de Rossi, in Rome, on April 21, 1795. He was raised in a loving family. His mother was a very spiritual woman and his father, a pious merchant. Vincent’s regard for his parents is very clear from words he uttered at his father’s grave: “God gave me pious parents.”
As a teenager, Vincent Pallotti joined the seminary to become a diocesan priest and was ordained on May 16, 1818. Fittingly, it took place in the month of May because Pallotti was very devoted to Mary and as a priest carried with him a picture of the Madonna always.
The core of Pallotti’s spirituality is the humility arising from a deep sense of his sinfulness and the joy springing from his overwhelming awareness of God’s infinite love and mercy. Contemplation of his God of love made him a mystic, and his response to this love made him an apostle. This love urged him to respond to the material and spiritual needs of those in need young and old, men and women, sick and poor. The words of St. Paul “Christ’s love urges us on” (2 Cor. 5: 14), became the motto of Pallotti’s spirituality.
Pallotti knew that without the cooperation of others he would not be able to help those in need. God saw Pallotti’s deep desire to help others and inspired him to found the Union of the Catholic Apostolate, an organisation that extended equal merit to every work undertaken by them. It was in keeping with Pallotti’s vision of the church where everyone had an active role to play in proclaiming the kingdom. The principal goal of the union is to promote in every way, the increase of spiritual and temporal means for the spreading of faith and live. This union which had Mary, Queen of Apostles, as its patroness, received the approval of Pope Gregory XVI on July 14, 1835.
The Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine Fathers and Brothers) was the core group of this Union. Vincent Pallotti also founded a Community of Sisters. For he know that women were indispensable in every apostolic effort. He was also aware that women had to suffer more hardships and inequalities than men in his time. When the number of orphan girls in Rome increased due to the deadly cholera epidemic, Pallotti looked after them with the help of a few dedicated women. These women were the forerunners of the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate.
Though Vincent Pallotti worked many miracles during his lifetime he refused to equate holiness with extraordinary powers. He also dismissed the notion of a particular state of life being superior to others in attaining holiness. According to him, holiness consisted in doing God’s will in whatever state of life one is in. Everyone is called to be an apostle of Jesus and in the same manner, everyone is expected to be holy like Jesus.
Pallotti regarded the plurality in the church as a sign of unity as well as universality. To highlight this unity in diversity, he initiated the solemn celebration of the Epiphany Octave in which liturgical services were conducted in various rites and languages. He was only too well aware of how the church is enriched by her linguistic and liturgical diversity.
During Epiphany Octave of 1850, Vincent Pallotti gave his overcoat away to someone in need while hearing confessions. He never recovered from the bad cold he caught as a result and the pleurisy that developed. He died on January 22, 1850. A century later, Pallotti was beatified by Pius XII. He was canonized by Pope John XIII on January 20, 1963.
Vincent Pallotti is modern saint who believed that God has given us the gift of freedom so that we might gain merits for our acts of goodness. He was aware, however, that this freedom leads to abuse of God’s creation givens as gifts resulting in the destruction of our earth. He calls for the renewal of our faith and love so that we may communicate lovingly and responsibly with our brothers and sisters and all created things. The sons and daughters of Pallotti, popularly known as the Pallottines, work towards the realization of the vision and charism of Pallotti, namely the concretization and realization of the apostolic vocation of all the faithful. In everything Pallotti’s motto is CARITAS CHRISTI URGET NOS, which means, THE LOVE OF CHRIST URGES US ON.