Blessed James Cusmano

Pope John Paul II proclaimed him Blessed on October 30, 1983. The liturgical feast of Blessed James Cusmano is celebrated on his “dies natalis,” March 14 of each year.

Hymn to Blessed James Cusmano

Blessed Francesco Spoto

Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi proclaimed him Blessed on April 21, 2007. The liturgical feast of Blessed Francesco Spoto is celebrated on September 24 each year.

Hymn to Blessed Francesco Spoto

The story of Blessed Francesco Spoto

FRANCESCO SPOTO was born in Raffadali (AG) on July 8, 1924. After attending elementary school in the village, at the age of 12, responding to God’s call, he entered the Seminary of the Missionary Servants of the Poor (Bocconisti) of Palermo, to follow the path of “Charity without limits” traced by Blessed James Cusmano. Gifted with a lively intelligence, he passionately committed himself to his studies, which he completed with excellent results at the Archiepiscopal Seminary of Palermo. On July 22, 1951, he was ordained a priest by Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini in the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Rimedi (Palermo). While he dedicated himself to teaching – to which he was destined by his superiors – he carried out his priestly ministry with the Servants of the Poor and in some parishes in the diocese of Palermo.

In the Chapter of 1959, he was elected Superior General at the age of only 35, with a dispensation from the Holy See. Just five days after his election, he handed over the crucifix and blessed his confrere who was on his way to Biringi, a town in the Congo, to open the first Bocconist mission there. From Palermo, Father Spoto followed its birth, development and consolidation. In August of 1964, he decided to go to Biringi to comfort and support his confreres who had been tried by the terrible events of the civil war. Being able to choose between returning to Italy and staying in the mission, he did not hesitate for a moment and wanted to remain in the “green catacomb” to share the passion of the confreres. In the village of Erira, his sacrifice was fulfilled. On December 27, 1964, he died as a result of the brutal beatings to which the “Simba” rebels had subjected him. He was only forty years old. His venerated remains remained in the mission for more than twenty years and were then permanently transferred to the Parish of “Eucharistic Heart of Jesus” in Corso Calatafimi, Palermo.

On June 26, 2006, the Holy Father Benedict XVI authorized the promulgation of the Decree concerning the martyrdom of the Servant of God. The sacred rite of beatification took place on April 21, 2007 in the cathedral of Palermo during the solemn concelebration presided over by Card. Salvatore De Giorgi.