Here and there
SAN GAETANO
Contact
HERE AND THERE:
In my roving on the internet I came across a few things connected to San Gaetano that are sometimes serious, sometimes simply interesting and in a few cases even outright funny. These short paragraphs and a long article that do not fit any of the chapters I set out, I will document here so that no information I have gathered about my beloved Saint, even be it trivial, shall be left out! At the end of this chapter I am also inserting the full text of a message of Pope John Paul II to the Theatines on the fifth centenary of the Birth of the Saint.
Three titles for Mary given by Gaetano: 'My Star', 'my Lady', 'my Teacher'.
Places all over the world called after the Saint:

All around the world especially in remote mountainous areas or small islands scattered all over, one can find the name of San Gaetano in one language or another, given to a small village, hamlet or Barrio. Even though, our Saint has a major city named after him, and this is Sao Caetano do Sul in the province of Sao Paulo Brasil.
In this section of my project especially I found the use of Google Earth very useful.
Argentina - Buenos Aires

Brasil - Amazonas
Brasil - Bahia
Brasil - Contagem, Minas Gerais
Brasil - Mato Grosso
Brasil - Piaui'
Brasil - Sao Paulo - Sao Caetano do Sul

Canada - Aumont, Quebec

Colombia - Bolivar
Colombia - Casanare
Colombia - Ce'sar
Colombia - Cudinamarca
Colombia - Meta

Costa Rica - San Rafael, Cartago

Cuba - La Habana
Cuba - Matanzas - Santa Ana
Cuba - Pinar del Rio - Vinales

El Salvador - San Salvador

Italy - Ascoli Piceno - Magliano di Tenna
Italy - Civitanova - Marche - Macerata
Italy - Messina - San Teodoro

Italy - Modena - Formigine
Italy - Modena - Marano sul Panaro
Italy - Padova - Veggiano
Italy - Pordenone - Valvasone
Italy - Reggio Calabria - Palmi

Italy - Rovigo - Polesella
Italy - Treviso - Montebelluna
Italy - Venezia - Cinto Caomaggiore
Italy - Venezia - Carole
Italy - Venezia - Cavarzese
Italy - Vicenza - Valstagna
Italy - Vicenza - Marostica
Italy - Vicenza - Asiago
Italy - Vicenza - Mason Vicentino

Mexico - Aguascalientes
Mexico - Capulin, Jalisco
Mexico - Celaya, Guanajuato
Mexico - Cordoba, Veracruz-Llave
Mexico - Durango
Mexico - Leon de los Adama, Guanajuato
Mexico - Najarit
Mexico - Queretaro, Queretaro de Artega

Nicaragua - Managua

Portugal - Acores - Pico
Portugal - Cantanhede
Portugal - Colega
Portugal - Vila Real

Spain - Murcia - San Javier
Spain - Pontevedra

Venezuela - Bolivar
Venezuela - Gua'rico

From Italy:

La Serenissima: Name applied to the state of Venice in San Gaetano's time.

Frosinone - Roccasecca:
On the feast day of San Gaetano near the church of St.Peter, a very old tradition all be it a bizarre one is celebrated: A pig with a bell tied to one of its legs is hunted down with brooms by villagers in weird costumes who are blindfolded and who also have bells tied to their legs!
This pagan entertainment must have been in place before the coming of Christianity and no one knows how it was amalgamated with the festivities for the Saint on the 7th August! We may be sure that Gaetano would not have approved of this masquerade especially on his feast day.

Modena - San Cesario sul Panaro:
A very small church dedicated to San Gaetano. At least one Mass is celebrated every year on the Saint's feast day together with prayers for a good harvest. The front is 'embellished' with bombs of WWII dropped by the allies.

Napoli - How the people celebrate San Gaetano's feast:
Because of the 'Ferragosto' tradition of taking holidays en masse during August in Italy, the feast of San Gaetano is not celebrated during this month in Napoli. Instead the festivities which are spread over three days, are held around the third Sunday of September when the population is back from the beaches.
Outside festivities are inaugurated on Saturday around the San Lorenzo quarter in Piazza San Gaetano and along Via dei Tribunali. Here a local band heads a procession of all the local civil, military and ecclesiastical authorities together with representatives of the different branches of San Gaetano nuns carrying colourful banners with images of the Saint. On the arrival of the procession at the corner of Via dei Tribunali, all the fancy electrical decorations and festoons are switched on, and this gives a real festive atmosphere to the celebrations together with the Italian flags draped out of many windows. From here the participants proceed to Piazza L.Miraglia where a wreath is placed at the foot of the monument for victims of the two world wars. After this everyone returns to the Theatine parish hall where there is a reception.
All Italians especially those from Napoli like to celebrate with song, so as soon as the procession disbands, a vocal and instrumental concert starts at the piazza with the cream of RAI TV singers and its orchestra taking part. For this occasion huge crowds gather and fill the piazza and adjoining streets and stay around enjoying the music into the early hours of the morning.
The Sunday liturgy is held in the Basilica of St.Paul and in the crypt where the remains of San Gaetano lie. A solemn Mass is celebrated around 11.00am and is very well attended by the parishioners, something very unusual as regards church attendance in Italy nowadays. There are usually also groups of pilgrims who come every year from the neighbouring towns for this special Mass in the crypt where the Saint lies because of the fervent devotion they have towards him. One of the Theatine fathers usually leads the choir and orchestra taking part in this liturgy. After Holy Communion for which a great number of those present participate and the end of the Mass, many from the congregation stay in the crypt to pray at San Gaetanos tomb. At around this time, members of the organizing committee of the festivities, come down to the crypt and offer a special oil lamp which is hung over the tomb and which will be kept burning until the next years feast.
Outside the church something particular happens meanwhile. A number of poor families gather at the doors of the church and are given food hampers so that they too would be able to celebrate in a proper way. This is done to show how San Gaetano must be held as the Saint who trusted in Divine Providence. A second session of the song festival is held at the piazza in the evening attended by the usual crowds with yet another session on Monday where special awards and prizes are given.
Throughout these festivities one can savour the distinctive Neapolitan gourmet anywhere along the main streets and Piazzas. Along the sidewalks, tables are put up and are filled with mouth watering dishes especially seafood: mussel soup, fried octopus, tripe, and red peppers. Ice cream stalls abound and this is their specialty. There is also nougat of all sorts to be bought as are toys for the kids.
With all this happening for San Gaetanos feast, one must keep in mind that the South especially Napoli is the poorest region of Italy and even if everyone is dressed in best clothes and wearing a smiling face, as in the time of the Saint, people are still suffering in the area and most can barely eke out a living let alone splurge. But for these few days San Gaetano who lived a poor life like them, is among them, happy for what God can Provide.

Also in Napoli, the Church of Santa Maria di Montesanto contains a bust of San Gaetano, invoked by the people as a protector from the great plague of 1656 and at the origin of a typically Neapolitan story. Farmers coming down to this church from the San Martino hill had to walk quite a way along the outside of the city wall and come in through the major Royal Gate past the church of the Holy Spirit. Rather than do all that walking, they simply knocked a hole in the wall nearer to their church and came straight in. The Spanish viceroy at the time, Ramiro Guzman, finally made the hole official, calling upon an architect to make it into a worthy gate which was afterwards called Porta Medina. All the walls and gates in that area were eliminated in the 1870s, and the guardian bust of San Gaetano, mounted over "The Hole" was moved into the church.



From Malta:
The Inquisitor of Malta in the Collegiate of the Shipwreck of St Paul
Angelo Durini to the Cardinal Prefect of the Holy Office, 13 Feb. 1762.
"In the city of Valletta of this island of Malta, there is the old parish church dedicated to the Shipwreck of St Paul, which since the year 1737 was raised to a Collegiate by his Holiness Clement XII. The Inquisitors 'pro tempore' were of the custom of visiting this church, both when it was still a simple parish church and also when it was made a Collegiate. But it was always a particular custom to invite the Inquisitor on the day of the Conversion of St Paul and on the feast of St Cajetan. The 'mazzetto' was given to them and they were treated in the same way as Bishops, that is with the Bishop's chair, canopy and red damask cushions edged in gold"


From Spain:
Salamanca - Salamantino:
An old convent of San Cayetano used to exist where the French built fortifications and where many battles took place in the war of 1812. With two other convents San Cayetano was destroyed when the powder reserves exploded.

Pontevedra - Galicia:
Chapel of San Cayetano has a bell from the English vessel 'Collingwood' which in 1735 avoided shipwreck by sighting the chapel. The crew donated the bell in thanksgiving.

Almeria - Roquetas de Mar:
Feast of the Canailla (sea urchin) in honour of San Cayetano.

Madrid:
There is a custom that during the procession outside, whoever hits the statue of the Saint with a flower thrown at it, will not lack work for that year.

Murcia - Montegaudo:
Ancient custom of eating watermelons on San Cayetano's feast day. Other celebrations include the popular procession with the Saints statue and the dawn fireworks.
Two Orders of Nuns under San Gaetano's patronage.

Poor Daughters of San Gaetano
Sisters in action founded by Giovanni Maria Boccardo (1848 -1913), parish priest of Pancalieri, in Northern Italy. The Order's headquarters are in Torino. The sisters have commend themselves to San Gaetano's protection and seek the Realm of God by complying with His will and committing themselves to live "humbly, simply, poorly, and in charity" and to announce the glad tidings to the poor and serve Jesus through them. Their charisma is "taking the Bible to the poor"...
Nowadays their activities cover the care of a Kindergarten school catering for ages 3 to 6 at Porto San Giorgio, and an old age home (since 1975) now with the capacity of 51 persons.
Apart from Italy, the order is also working in Brazil, Argentina and Togo.

The Sisters of Providence.
By 1840, Fr.Luigi Scrosoppi (1804 -1884) began to lay the foundations for houses for poor girls, children and deaf-mutes. He recruited several female school teachers to help him in his work - these soon decided on becoming nuns. On Christmas Day, 1845, fifteen of them received the habit and were constituted as a religious congregation, known as The Sisters of Providence, under the patronage of San Gaetano.
Fr.Luigi traced for the Sisters a style of life that was to be simple and modest: to live in a constant attitude of abandonment and trust in Divine Providence. It was to be absolute like that of a child in the arms of its mother, without any other thoughts except that of pleasing God alone, to the extent of sacrificing one's own life. In fact, Fr.Luigi and the Sisters, like San Gaetano during his life, experienced the hand of Providence, day after day. From the beginning of the work for abandoned children, they prayed to San Gaetano, the saint of Divine Providence.
Lately Fr.Scrosoppi himself has been Canonized.
Sicily - Agrigento - Girgenti:
'Banca Cattolica Co-operativa San Gaetano in Girgenti'
Official bank voucher for Fifty Italian Lira, dated 22nd June 1903.
Document from San Gaetano's hand:
The family Marzaro of Zugliano is in possession of a document written by San Gaetano's own hand. It is a list of debts that the Saint is recommending be paid. This document was written in Venice in 1522 and is an explicit call to Nicolo' Porto, Gaetano's niece's father in law, to provide payment to the fourteen debtors listed therein.
Two Wills From Malta

Francesco Zahra: Maltese painter died on 19 August 1773. His will was drawn up and signed exactly a year before on 19 August 1772. His wife Teresa had died in May 1751 when he was 41 years old leaving behind the painter's surviving sons Aurelio and Luigi, and daughter Prassede as her natural heirs.
On 15 November 1773, Prassede acknowledged the receipt of 21 scudi 9 tari from Baron Don Pasquale Sciberras Testaferrata as a balance from 50 scudi for a painting which her father was commissioned to execute. It depicted the Sacred Heart of Jesus with San Camillo and San Gaetano at his sides.

Juan Antonio Grech: Maltese or of Maltese descent. On his death in 1802, an inventory of his possessions in his house in Barcelona showed amongst other contents, a brass Christ on a silver cross, wooden crosses as well as a painting of San Cayetano.
Sao Caetano Melon:

Latin name: MOMORDICA
Common name:
Sao Caetano Melon
State: Wild, grows around abandoned fields
Country: Brazil
Edible: Seeds are an edible delicacy for children and farmers
Provenance: Brought from Africa by slaves to Brazil
Momordica charantia, a member of the Cucurbitaceae family is a tropical plant currently distributed across the globe. The immature fruits are a good source of vitamin C and provide some vitamin A, phosphorus, and iron. Momordica charantia is a fast-growing, trailing or climbing vine with thin stems and tendrils. It is a very popular plant, because Momordica charantia has been used by natives for cancer, diabetes and many infectious diseases. It is a powerful weapon against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)!
MESSAGE OF JOHN PAUL II
ON THE 5TH CENTENARY OF THE BIRTH
OF SAN GAETANO OF THIENE:

To the dear son Michele Tucci
General Provost of the Order of the Clerics Regular commonly known as Theatines

In the liturgical celebrations of the Church it is usual to remember the day when Saints are born to Eternal Life; but it is also well to remember, with gratefulness towards God, giver of all the grace, the days in which they were physically born on the earth. The Saints whom God calls "according to His design and His grace" (2 Tim 1,9), because they are in particular ways consistent with the image of Christ His Son, are elected members of the Mystical Body of Christ, that it is the Church (Col 1,18), models of evangelical perfection, and because with their various activities leave memories in the events of the life of the Church and of humanity.
Therefore with the joy of a father, o most beloved spiritual sons of San Gaetano of Thiene, we learn that you are going to celebrate his fifth centenary (of his birth).
Gaetano, born at Vicenza in October of the year 1480, according to historical truth that has been handed down to us, in a religious family found the perfect conditions to respond from the very beginning to the fundamental holiness received in baptism, that is to the sanctifying grace, to the supernatural virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit, that he had nurtured in himself. Because of this he followed Christ more and more faithfully day after day, because He had called him to holiness, at first lay state, then as a Priest and, finally, in religious life.
It is beautiful to observe him, youth of good morals, student of the University of Padova, where he achieved the doctorate "in utroque iure". After this he received the sacred tonsure, obeying - it is lawful to conjecture it - to an inner call to the ecclesiastical vocation; admired in the Supreme Pontiff's court, where he was promoted to the office of Apostolic Protonotary, under the pontificate of Julius II and Leo X, both of whom appreciated him and his work for the Roman Curia.
His activity in the Oratory of the Divine Love and the aid he gave to the incurables in the Hostel of Saint Giacomo in Augusta, were examples of charity and inner reform that he offered, exercising also his apostolate in confraternities of lay people, especially in Vicenza, his native city, and in Venice, where he renewed the spirit of those devout societies - like he had already done in the Roman society of the Divine Love - urging the members to pray together, to listen to the word of God and to meditate on it, especially to frequently receive the Sacraments: devout exercises which were bound with charity for the sick and the poor, because, as it said, "not with the fervor of affection, but with the fervor of effection are spirits purified". ( Letters of S. Gaetano from Thiene , in "Studies and Witnesses", Vatican City 1954 p. 31.) Justly, the Supreme Pontiff Pius XII, in the Letter directed to you in the occasion of the centennial celebrations of the death of this your founder, called him "burning apostle of the Divine Love and standard-bearer of Christian mercy". ( In Tabulario generali Ordinis Clericorum Regularium vulgo Theatinorum [ Rome ])
But for the charisma of San Gaetano to be valued rightly, it is necessary rather to hold into account that he renewed apostolic life in the Church of his time; he recalled the clergy to the holiness of their vocation; he openly testified evangelical poverty while he imitated Christ with most intense ardour.
Obeying Divine inspiration, Gaetano, with three companions, Giovanni Pietro Carafa, Bishop of Chieti and afterwards Pope Paul IV, Bonifacio de Colli and Paolo Consiglieri, with the profession of the solemn vows taken on the 14 september of 1524 near the tomb of Saint Peter in the Vatican, gave start to the Institute of Regular Clerics, whose scope was to restore the examples of the first Christian community of Jerusalem, in which the faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, lived together joined in the faith and obedient to the dispositions of the apostles, persevering in the breaking of the bread and in prayers, distributing to all, according to one's need, their goods and, together in the love of Christ, they were a single heart and spirit.(cf. Acts 2,41-47; 4,32-35.)
Those noted priestly communities that were being constituted more frequently, had been formed for the service of the pastors and their Churches and, always sincerely testifying the Gospel of Christ, and making sure true reform of the Church took place. For good reason the same Cardinal of the S.R.C. Guglielmo Sirleto, who for some years had been host of the Teatini of Rome, said of this Institute: "In the care of the Divine Cult, in the putting aside of riches, in their very lifestyle following the example of the apostles, they put in front of us, in our age the times of the early Christian Church". (Antonio Caracciolo, Synopsis veterum religiosorum , Paris 1628, p. 2.) Equally notable are the notes of Cardinal Caesar Baronio, in the Roman Martyrology, pointing out to the Theatines saying: "Saintly and devotedly they practice to the completely restored primitive apostolic style of living".(cf. Regnum Dei: Collectanea theatina , 2 [ 1946 ] 47)
This is, according to history, the charisma of the spirit of San Gaetano. Therefore the Church, celebrating the liturgy in his memory, prays thus: "O God, who has granted to the blessed priest Gaetano the grace to live an apostolic way of life"; and then ask the Lord who, by his its intercession gives them confidence in him and to look for His reign. (Ex Missali Romano, die VII m. Augusti.)
This lack of concern and despising of human riches, and this confidence in the celestial Father, who feeds the birds of the sky and clothes the lilies of the field, (Mt 6.26,28.) helped a lot the spread of the cult of your founder, particularly among the people of Latin countries, and for him to be invoked as "the Saint of Divine Providence".
From then on, many of the Regular Orders, with Gods help, have imitated, especially as from the time of institution (1524), of the Order of the Regular Clerics, (cf. Papal Yearbook : "Chierici Regolari") and even they, observing the spirit of the first apostolic community, were of great help in the celebration of the Council of Trent and in the putting to practice of its decrees, as well as to the realization of the Catholic reform, that started to be put into practice in the sixteenth century.
With the testimony of these communities, made up of reformed priests, San Gaetano also aimed mainly, at the reform of the clergy, needed in that time of rampant corruption. From the Institute of San Gaetano, like from others of the same kind, the priests, pushed forward especially for an inner reform, to demonstrate with a true and total conversion of mentality and customs and with the exercise of their priestly ministry, to carry out the will of Christ Supreme Priest and Pontiff of the New Alliance, where He admonishes them: "Watch what you do". For this purpose, a Theatine analyst could say in all truth: "Those who did not have any rule, looking into the mirror Regular Clerics, would see how far they were from living the way that even they had to follow". (Valerio Pagano, in Regnum Dei: Collectanea theatina , 24 [ 1968 ] 57)
But in following Christ Gaetano and his companions, imbibed with the true spirit of evangelical poverty, offered not a minor example as far as material riches.
With great, indeed heroic minds, Gaetano and Giovanni Pietro Carafa, together with the other companions who had also founded the Institute, left their ecclesiastical assets and their inheritance. Later on they established a way of life - as Saint Paul had admonished - with the entrance into the sacred ministry, since "the laborer is worth his wage", (Lc 10,7.) and the voluntary offerings of the faithful. Without fixed goods and steady incomes, and without asking for alms, they lived entrusting themselves, like sons, to the providence of the celestial Father.
This greatest and nearly incredible despising of human things made the society of that age give credit to the reform that Gaetano proposed the clergy and, through them, the Christian people, called by God to the evangelical perfection of their state.
Gaetano could actuate all this because he was moved with a great love to imitate Christ; in fact fixing his eyes in Him, he reached the peak of evangelical perfection, and was so devoted to charity that, near the end of his life, after having invoked Gods Divine Mercy with ardent prayers, offered his life to God to bring peace to the city of Naples, in turmoil with fighting: something that his biographers narrate unanimously.
Therefore there is no one who does not see how much, even in these times, the instructions of Saint Gaetano are relevant as regards their usefulness for souls and society.
Justly Saint Gaetano can be suggested for the imitation of the faithful: because he had a priestly, most passionate spirit to renew the inner spirit, in order to dedicate himself better to love God and neighbour, which is the Christian norm of perfection; because with tireless ardor he tried to really renew the Church of his time, "always in need of reform"; because he sincerely and forcefully he returned to the pure sources of the Gospel and to the style of life of the apostles and the disciples of the Lord both in the practice of private and communal poverty, as well as in the lifestyle of Christians, joined together by the love of Christ in a single heart and spirit; because fervently he healed the honor of the House of God and a worthy liturgical service, particularly to which celebration his religious family had to care for; because he was continuously in the service of the sick, of the poor, of the neglected, of those with the plague and of those with repugnant diseases - very similar to the calamities of this age; because, finally, he was entrusted, with confidence to provide the goodness of the celestial Father, whom he exhorts people to watch, to hope and to try to reach things that surpass the world way even though feeling worldly, found useful and proven right again at the Ecumenical Council of Vatican II; because it explains all these merits and gifts of the spirit.
Glad to participate with you, in some way, in these celebrations, with this letter, without doubt above all appreciated by you, especially because San Gaetano loved the faith of Peter intensely, we exhort you in the Lord to always imitate your founder, as he imitated Christ: and that you will surely do following Christ, helping the faithful spiritually and materially; exercising the works of your priestly ministry, contributing to the edification of the body of Christ (Eph 4,12).
With these sentiments, my dear son, we impart to you and your religious family of which you are leader, the Apostolic Benediction, auspice of celestial graces.

From the Vatican Palaces, the 7th August, of the year 1980, the second of our pontificate.

JOHN PAUL II