Today is the feast day of Saint Gregory Barbarigo. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Gregory Barbarigo was born in Venice, Italy in 1635. His father was an Italian diplomat and the two of them traveled throughout Italy and Europe. By the age of 30, he had earned a degree in law. He was disturbed by the lack of faith he observed in many of the leaders of his time. His strong desire to spread the Catholic Faith and renew the Church, as well as a desire to heal divisions with the church, led Gregory to become a Priest.
Saint Gregory was ordained in 1644 and was sent to Rome. During an epidemic in Rome he ministered to the sick and dying. Pope Alexander VII personally assigned St. Gregory to the construction of hospitals and sanitary facilities. (1)
Saint Gregory was a strong supporter of the work of the Council of Trent. He made the seminaries of Padua and of Bergamo larger and added an archive and printing press in Padua, Italy. He celebrated a diocesan synod from September 1-3 1683 and wrote the “Regulae Studiorum” in 1690 for ecclesial studies. He also visited 320 parishes in his diocese. (2)
Saint Gregory worked unceasingly toward the Counter-Reformation – the movement by the Council of Trent as a response to the Protestant Reformation specifying Catholic doctrine on salvation, the sacraments, and the Biblical canon. (3)
Through his efforts the seminaries of both Bergamo and Padua were substantially enlarged. (4)
Acknowledging the success of his efforts Pope Alexander consecrated Gregory a Bishop and Cardinal of the Church. He continued to do his work of building in the places he served. After exhausting himself in God’s service – Cardinal Gregory died in 1706 at the age of 81. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1960. To this day, many parishes, schools, and hospitals are named St. Gregory in honor of this great Cardinal and saint. (1)
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