Saint Gaetano was born on Valentine’s Day 1879 in Italy to a devout family. He had great devotion to Holy Face of Jesus. He once wrote: “The Holy Face is my life. He is my strength.”
Gaetano was ordained a priest in 1902 and dedicated himself to serving his parishioners. In particular, he considered his duty as a priest to help those who were isolated and forgotten: youth without role models, abandoned senior citizens, and priests who were without support. He revived devotion to the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the region.
“If we wish to adore the real Face of Jesus… we can find it in the divine Eucharist, where with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Face of Our Lord is hidden under the white veil of the Host”.
Father Gaetano spent hours or entire days in prayer before the Tabernacle. To serve the needs of the people in various parishes, he set up “flying squads” – mission teams of priests who would move from parish to parish giving homilies and hearing confessions. Gaetano himself served three decades as confessor for religious & prisoners, as a hospital chaplain, and as a Seminary spiritual director.
In 1934, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Veronica, Missionaries of the Holy Face – whose mission encompasses constant prayer of reparation, humble service in worship, catechesis & assistance to youth, priests, and the elderly.
He died in 1953, and was beatified not long after (1997) by Pope John Paul II. His canonization took place in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. We celebrate his feast day on April 4.