by Fr. Joseph Rinaldo
Bishop Bacciarini died on June 27, 1935. His legacy can be summarized in the words he pronounced right after his election as Bishop of Lugano, Switzerland. “The Bishop is the father of the poor, the friend of children, like Jesus Christ, the consoler of the afflicted who cries for the pain of all like it were his own and for all, he comforts, helps, saves.” A Saint is a living page of the Gospel; the incarnation of a bundle of Christian virtues in the life of a person; a handful of divine life that God wanted to make visible within the pilgrim Church here on earth.
Bishop Aurelio Bacciarini is a fragment of the infinite power of God who manifests His main trait in exercising a fatherly mercy.
Bishop Bacciarini went through a very complex and difficult life. Because of his constant physical suffering, Pope Pius XI called him, “Job of the Catholic Episcopate.” I don’t think it is too extravagant even portraying him as a new Moses praying on the mountain for his people. At Montecassino Abbey there is a statue of Moses praying with his hand raised to heaven. It is the true picture of those monks living at the monastery that, like satellite dishes, are always ready to receive God’s blessings on behalf of men.
The successor of Bacciarini in the See of Lugano, Switzerland, Bishop Joseph Martinoli, said of his immediate predecessor, “Bishop Bacciarini accepted a special mission from the Lord for the well-being of his diocese, a diocese that was going through a turbulent period of its life. I am convinced that his mission is not yet over. Perhaps, its most important part is not yet accomplished.”
The Church, the Christian life of the faithful of his diocese in Ticino, the members of the two Guanellian Congregations, the Servants of Charity and the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, the many friends of St. Louis Guanella are the subjects of “this mission not yet accomplished” for bringing back the splendor of God’s grace in the soul of every person.
Eighty years have already passed since the departure of Bishop Bacciarini from this earth. In a time of hurry and of swift changes like ours, even people of recent history already seem ancient.
Instead, the models of holiness that populate the Church and bring new vitality to her are like new blossoms born from the roots of the century old olive tree of hers. God constantly gives extraordinarily great persons to His Church.
Bacciarini had been a great Bishop because he was a great man of prayer: a flower rich in virtue, especially the luminous virtue of prayer.
There is no problem today to fully subscribe to all the pastoral decisions that Bacciarini had made years ago. Everything that is solid and essential to the life of the diocese, and still exists today, should be ascribed to his holiness.
Bishop Bacciarini was essentially a contemplative in action. He acted with tireless readiness and zeal. But the soul of his apostolate was his constant prayer. He was aware that the Lord is always waiting for man to open himself to Him; that the privileged door, allowing the Holy Spirit to come in, is prayer.
The cause for his Beatification is already advanced at the Vatican. Experts are working to uncover those precious pearls that the Lord Himself had mounted in the heart of this holy Bishop.
Their job is to uncover the action of God’s grace in this holy soul, a soul that had carried out the virtues of faith, hope and charity in a heroic way together with all the other Christian virtues. Bishop Bacciarini was declared Venerable by the Church on March 15, 2008. In our times, we need his help and protection more than ever. May his intercession touch the Heart of Jesus to hold in His heart the poor, the handicapped the elderly, the oppressed and the persecuted.
Prayer for the Intercession of Venerable Aurelio Bacciarini
God, Father of endless love, through the Heart of Jesus your Son, you have revealed the mystery of your love for each of your children. By your power you alleviate our labor and suffering through the Holy Spirit. May you be praised forever. In your mercy you have sent to your Church your faithful servant, Bishop Aurelio Bacciarini, to strengthen the faith of your people as an example of your compassion for the poor and inspiration of hope in his long suffering. Through his intercession give us, your children, the grace we are asking with confidence … Give us the strength to accept and love your will where we firmly believe we can find our peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.