Feast day June 1
Spiritual Director of Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
1. Prayer of St. Annibale to Our Lady for Vocations
O Most Holy Virgin,
You have kept in Your Immaculate Heart the Divine Command of Jesus:
“Pray therefore to the Master of the Harvest to send laborers to His Harvest”
and You have raised all priestly and apostolic vocations,
which have bloomed in the Church at all times
We ask of You this Spirit of prayer and that You may present the supplications
which we raise to the Lord of the Harvest
so that He send to the world an abundance of holy laborers
for His greater Glory and for the Salvation of Souls. Amen.
by St. Annibale Maria di Francia
Blessed Pope John Paul II described St Annibale Maria di Francia as an anticipator and precursor of the modern pastoral care of vocations
2. Link to FDZ Vocations web site.
Prayer for Priestly Vocations
Jesus, Good Shepherd, you said:
“The harvest indeed is great but the laborers are few.”
We lovingly embrace Your invitation:
“Pray the Heavenly Father to send forth laborers into His harvest.”
Inspire in us a holy crusade for vocations
under the loving care of St. Annibale Maria Di Francia
whom Blessed Pope John Paul II described as
“an anticipator and precursor of the modern pastoral care of vocations.”
Grant us abundant holy priests!
May these holy priests be the salt of the earth, the light of the world,
the city placed on the mountaintop for the salvation of mankind redeemed by Your Precious Blood.
Look on us Lord Jesus and our need for holy priests.
Help those young men you are calling to hear clearly Your Solemn and Authoritative Voice
and to generously respond with their “Fiat!” to Your loving call.
Holy Mary Mother of God and Mother of priests, Mother and guardian of vocations,
pray with us, pray for us and pray for all those young men
called from the beginning of time by Our Triune God
to be holy priests today in our troubled world. Amen.
St Annibale Maria Di Francia
Annibale was born in Messina on 05 July 1851. His parents were Francesco Di Francia and Anna Toscano. The third of four children, his father died when he was two years old.
When he was eighteen he felt called by the Lord to the priesthood. My calling was sudden, irresistible yet sure He was ordained priest on 16 March 1878 in the Church of the Holy Spirit. While still a deacon he met a poor blind man called Francesco Zancone. For Fr Annibale this meeting was providential. He discovered the Avignone district, the poorest in Messina, and he remained there. His charity transformed that place into a holy land and that populace into a people of God.
Love of God and NEIGHBOR
Love for God and love for ones neighbour became the norm that ruled his Christian and priestly life to the point of heroism. He loved children and the poor but he discovered another and greater poverty as well. It was the lack of good workers. This caused him such pain that he spent his whole life countering it.
Who will evangelise the poor, thought Father Annibale, if there are no evangelisers? Who will lead the people in Gods ways, if there are no pastors?
Discovery of the Rogate
Delving into the inexhaustible richness of the Gospel he found a pearl of great price. It was the Rogate pearl. It means pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest. (Mt 9:37-38; Lk 10:2).
It seemed that these words of Jesus had always been part of him. The Lord had etched them in his heart and attuned it to his own Heart.
From then on this confident and unceasing prayer to God the Father, the Lord of the harvest, became his obsession, and the secret of salvation for so many men and women who would come to know the joy of the Gospel.
Foundation of Two Congregations
But who could Annibale share this discovery with?
Where could he find women with a motherly instinct for abandoned children, women who would work for the Church? Where could he find women whose lives of prayer would obtain from Gods heart apostles to proclaim the Gospel?
Captivated by Fr Annibales untiring service in the infamous Avignone area of Messina, a number of young women, moved by love of God, resolved to serve the downcast and to tirelessly implore God for workers for the harvest. Hence the Daughters of Divine Zeal congregation was born with Madre Maria Nazarena Majone as co-foundress.
The name Daughter of Divine Zeal (FDZ) expresses the ardent love (zeal) of Christ when seeing the crowds he was filled with compassion, for they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd (Mt 9:36).
With this name Fr Annibale encapsulated the ideal and the mission of each FDZ and of the whole Institute.
Fr Annibale also founded the Rogationist Fathers, entrusting both congregations with the mission to pray, to spread prayer for vocations and to be good workers themselves first of all.
A Life in the Service of God and Neighbour
On the occasion of his beatification on 07 October 1990, Pope John Paul II described Fr Annibale as an anticipator and precursor of the modern pastoral care of vocations. He was canonised a saint in Rome, Italy on 16 May 2004.
St Annibales response to the poverty of human beings was his prayer and charity. He became a symbol of Christs compassion and tenderness for all humans.