Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"It's a double feast today!"

Today's great feast of the holy apostles and martyrs Saints Peter and Paul was a special one in the life of Pier Giorgio.  It was the day he celebrated as his name day, what we would call our feast day.

From Luciana Frassati's very moving book, "My Brother Pier Giorgio: His Last Days," we know that the last gift he received from his sister was a cigar case that he chose for himself that day while they shopped together.  Later, he joked with a maid, "Two cigars.  Today you have to give me two cigars: one for St. Peter and one for St. Paul; it's a double feast today!"  And when he went out in the evening to share a toast with his friends to celebrate his feast day, his Aunt Elena thought it strange.   Like many others in his family, she did not understand his spirituality. 

That fateful Monday in 1925 would mark the beginning of the end of his short life.  When his friends noticed that he did not seem well, he passed it off as a case of "muscular poisoning.  Too much activity these last few months."  But his aches and pains did not deter him from spending time with his friends and family and visiting the sick and the poor. He was then and is now the model of how to live holiness in our ordinary lives. 

"I also saw him serving for the bishop during the distribution of Communion in La Consolata Church on his feast day, as always with the seriousness and attention to detail that he gave to anything pertaining to the Church.  But in his life outside church, he was always rowdy and in high spirits."  -- (Testimony of Fernanda Casali Marini in the book, "Mio Fratello Pier Giorgio - La Fede,")

With those same high spirits, let us celebrate this double feast today.  Blessed Pier Giorgio...pray for us!

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