Father Mazzuchelli inspires us today Print
Bishop Hying's Column
Thursday, Aug. 08, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
Bishop Donald J. Hying's column

This month, I will be offering a special Mass at St. Patrick Parish in Benton followed by a blessing of the newly-renovated rectory which will serve as a museum to Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli, who is buried in the parish cemetery.

I have always had a strong devotion to him ever since I was a child and my family visited the Sinsinawa motherhouse and I learned about his remarkable life.

Father Mazzuchelli’s life

Born in the cultured world of Milan, Italy, in 1806, Mazzuchelli entered the Dominican order at the age of 17 and volunteered to serve in the new Diocese of Cincinnati as a missionary.

He was ordained a priest in 1830 and sacrificially spent himself for the rest of his days as a circuit-riding missionary, establishing parishes in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. He also founded the order of the Dominican Sisters at Sinsinawa.

He reached out to all people of every race, ethnicity, and religious background. His radiant gentleness, cultured manners, and deep love for Christ won the hearts of all who met him. He died on February 23, 1864, after contracting an illness from a sick parishioner.

We all have a purpose, mission

Father Mazzuchelli’s life reminds us, as do all the saints, that we each have a purpose and a mission: to make Christ known and loved, to serve the Church, to become saints ourselves, so that our lives give abundant witness to the love, grace, and power of God who created us and longs to have us with Him for all eternity in heaven.

This passion drove the apostles to give their lives to witnessing to the Resurrection, inspired the martyrs to give up their lives rather than their faith, St. Francis Xavier to give away all of his possessions, St. Damien the Leper to serve the poorest of the poor in Hawaii, and Mother Teresa to leave the safety of her convent and live in the slums of Calcutta.

Holy Spirit stirring hearts

I feel the Holy Spirit stirring many hearts, as Catholics all over the world are asking the same questions: How can I have a deeper relationship with Jesus? How can I make my parish more vital and spirited? How can I effectively witness my faith to others with competence and confidence?

God is raising up a whole new generation of beautiful young people — seminarians, priests, Religious, married couples, and singles who want to live the Gospel with passion and purpose.

Imagine if every Catholic in our Diocese went to Mass every week, confessed their sins once a month, prayed every day, supported their parish, and volunteered for one activity or organization in the Church. Our country and our world would be radically different places! The fruits of the Holy Spirit would abound in people and places that we have given up on.

We live in a world of terrifying violence, dark despair, crises of meaning, dehumanizing poverty, and profound suffering. Like the apostles and the saints of every age, we are sent by Jesus into the world as we find it to proclaim the Gospel and help build the Kingdom of God.

Proclaiming Christ in new ways

Despite the great difficulties and challenges or perhaps because of them, I find this historical moment to be exciting and bracing. We have the opportunity to proclaim Christ in brand new ways to millions of people who are thirsting for God, whether they know it or not.

God is calling us to leave complacency, despair, and cynicism behind and to set out on the adventure of the new evangelization, to proclaim to every person we meet, “Let me tell you about Jesus, this man who is the Son of God who has completely changed my life!”

That evangelizing fire burned in the heart of Samuel Mazzuchelli, inspiring him to embrace a difficult life of great sacrifice to plant the Gospel and the Church in the rich soil of our Diocese. This quote from him is custom-made for us today.

“Let us wake up then, open our eyes in apostolic charity, and if we are called, set out for any place where the work is great and difficult.”