March 03, 2015

⛪ Blessed Innocent of Berzo - Priest

 Blessed Innocent of Berzo,
Pray for us !
Saint of the Day : March 3

⛪ Other Names :
• Giovanni Scalvinoni • Innocenzo de Berzo

⛪ Memorial :
• 3 March 
• 28 September (Capuchins) 
• 9 April on some calendars

 Born :
• March 1844 at Niardo, Brescia, Italy as Giovanni Scalvinoni

⛪ Died :
• 3 March 1890 at Begamo, Italy from influenza

⛪ Patronage :
• Berzo Inferiore, Italy

Blessed Innocenzo da Berzo (19 March 1844 - 3 March 1890), born Giovanni Scalvinoni, was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and a professed member of the Order of Friars Minor - or Capuchin branch of the Franciscan Order. Scalvinoni assumed his new religious name upon his profession as a Capuchin friar.

Pope John XXIII beatified him on 12 November 1961.

Giovanni Scalvinoni was born on 19 March 1844 to Pietro Scalvinoni and Francesca Poli in Niardo (Brescia). He was baptized Giovanni. His father died of pneumonia when Giovanni was three months old in June 1844. He spent his childhood in Berzo.

As a small child he had great mercy for the poor, giving generously to those who asked, even though his family was in need. From 1855 to 1860 he attended the municipal college in Lovere in the province of Bergamo and he passed with high marks. In 1864 he entered the diocesan seminary of Brescia. He was ordained to the priesthood on 2 June 1867 and held some positions, including that of vice-chancellor of the seminary, but each time he was removed because his innate shyness made in difficult to impose authority. He was assigned as the parochial vicar at the parish of Cevo in Valsaviore. In 1870 he returned to Berzo Inferiore where his duties were to act as a confessor and to direct the local primary school. During the time in the parish he found a need for solitude, prayer and penance. In 1873 he entered the Order of Friars Minor at the Annunciata Convent in the village of Borno. In 1877 he later he made his solemn wows and took the name of "Innocenzo of Berzo".

Except for short assignments of preaching spiritual exercises in some convents in Lombardy, he remained at the Annunicata Convent. There he lived a life of intense abandonment, living the adage of "do good and disappear". He had a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, finding his sustenance in front of the Tabernacle. He also had a devotion to the crucified Jesus Christ, and encouraged penitents to the exercise of the Way of the Cross.

On 3 March 1890 he died in the infirmary of the convent of the Capuchin friars in Bergamo. From 26 to 28 September of the same year his body was transferred to the cemetery of Berzo Inferiore in a trip defined as "the last itinerant adventure connected to the earthly world of the little friar from Berzo". The mortal remains of Innocenzo from Berzo arrived in Vallecamonica some months after his death. Even though the news went slower than now, a great number of people asked the Conventual house, where his body was resting, to have a relic of his mortal remains. Once the people obtained the permission, on 28 September, nearly seven months after his death, the body was arranged in a coffin and then carried on the shoulders of his Franciscan brethren and was taken to his last resting-place.

There are two miracles attributed to the late friar. The first is a cure of a male child at the age of four from an aggressive form of leukemia. The second is the cure of another male child of the age of five from peritonitis.

Pope John XXIII presided over the beatification of Innocenzo da Berzo on 12 November 1961 and made him the patron of both Berzo and of children.

The Secret of his Joy was Prayer

The secret of his joy was his intense life of prayer. He loved to spend long hours before the Blessed Sacrament, especially late at night. In fact his desire to live in the same house as Jesus had been a factor that influenced his decision to join the Capuchins in the first place. One day, when on a pastoral assignment, he ended up getting locked inside the church for the night by a forgetful parish priest. Next morning the priest found Brother Innocent rapt in prayer, his eyes wide open and his face radiant with happiness. The other great focus of his prayer life was the Passion of Christ. He performed the Way of the Cross several times daily and recommended the practice to his penitents in confession. The Eucharist and the Passion, as well sa devotion to Our Lady, were also the major themes of his preaching.

The Useless Servant Inherits the Kingdom of Heaven

Whenever his superiors gave him a minor assignment, he seemed to do it exceptionally well. But as soon as they assigned him greater responsibility, he ended up making a mess of things and had to be relieved of office. They never seemed to be able to find the right spot for him. But the fact that he was beatified by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1961, just 71 years after his death, indicates that the Lord managed to find the right spot for him in Paradise saying to him - “Come, you, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.”

"Jesus is offended by everyone in the world: it is up to me to not leave Him alone in his affliction. The love of God does not consist in great sentiments but in great openness and patience for the sake of the Beloved God. There is no other better way for guarding the spirit than suffering, doing and keeping silent. I have a great desire to be subject to all and in horror to be preferred the least." - Blessed Innocent of Berzo

Related Post