When people dream things happen. Born as part of the nobility of Malta at the turn of the 20th century (b. 1877), the Servant of God Joseph De Piro was shaped by the missionary movements sweeping Europe at the time in the Catholic Church, to which he was exposed in his seminary training in Rome.
After turning his back on his myriad possibilities stemming from his noble birth, both as a career person and within the church itself, he dared envision a new role for priests and brothers, in his country Malta, by setting up the Missionary Society of St. Paul, as a new congregation with a specific goal of evangelizing. Whilst actively involved in multiple roles -philanthropy with orphanages, politics at a time of turbulence and conflict in Maltese society, church roles such as the rectorship of the Seminary, and the appointment as Dean of the Cathedral Chapter – Mgr De Piro clung to his first dream: the setting up of the Society.
He nurtured his little plant through its early beginnings, begged authorities to approve it, and endured the disappointments of its early struggles with members joining and then leaving. He saw through the first missioning of a member, Br. Joseph Caruana in 1928, and made plans to visit him in Abyssinia, in 1933.
When he died suddenly in 1933, he left the Society he founded still in its infancy. Yet, because it was not a monument to him, but a charism of God’s spirit, De Piro’s Society has survived, grown, and branched out.
Today the name of De Piro graces mission posts such as the Philippines, Pakistan, Malta, Peru, Cuba, Australia and Canada. But more than the name of the man, it is the dream which he dreamt which lives on: a dream from a nobleman, with a noble heart.
Visit the official site of Canonisation at www.josephdepiro.com
This is what I pray for: to come to know the will of God and fulfil it wholeheartedly.
During sorrow and disappointments, even in the face of death itself, I try to raise my mind and heart towards the heavenly father and tell him “Thy Kingdom come.”
Do you know what is the most important thing? It is to listen and follow God’s word that is much more worthy than the whole world with all that it can offer.
We must be ready to follow God’s Will with a real generous heart convinced in our motto “We follow you whenever you go”.
Jesus prefers those who wish to remain hidden. When He chose me to be one of his ministers, He found me among sinners.
Every member of the Society should do his very best to be able to deliver the Word of God as worthily as possible. His way of life should be in conformity to what he is preaching.
Missionaries must be careful not to neglect the advance of their own soul by thinking of saving that of others
The spiritual life must be the aim of all external actions, otherwise little or nothing will be obtained from missionary work.
Charity is treasure above treasures. It is the queen of virtues, the fullness of perfection, God himself. And who is like God? Man’s first and greatest obligation is to love first and above all else the great God our Lord because we owe it only to Him what we are and what we have. We have been created just to love him. We love God our Lord, if we hate what He hates and love what He loves; in other words if we shun sin and behave virtuously. Just as light and darkness do not stay together, likewise charity and sin are not found in one soul at one time.
After the love of God there is the love of our brethren. We are all brothers, sons of one Father. My second great duty is to love my brothers and love them as much as I love myself, for so wants God my Lord. He who says that he loves God and at the same time does not love wholeheartedly even his enemies, he would be saying an untruth…
According to our judgement, this year has been a year of misfortune. This is our way of looking at it, because God does nothing that is not perfect, and his works cannot be but good. On this occasion I can say without fear that the consolations we have experienced have been greater than the grief caused through our great loss.
God our Father, your servant Joseph De Piro gave witness to the faith
by his service to the poor and his missionary zeal.
May his loyalty to Christ and the Church, his love for Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God,
his benevolence towards the orphaned and his constant aspiration to evangelize the world,
give guidance to the Christian people today.
We beg you to grant the favour we are asking you through his intercession […]
so that his holiness may be recognized by all and the Church may proclaim him a Saint.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.