The Role of Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia

After a brief article on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, it is natural to ask what is the role and importance of Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia (1851-1927) considering that other members of the ecclesiastical world and of the Magisterium have tackled the problem of Vocations on the basis of the command of Jesus “The harvest is great and the workers are few. Pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest.”

Let’s say right away that the great merit of Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia was to have “discovered” and have worked hard all his life to spread this command of the Lord. But in some ways, despite having had a good response, the consideration that it had was not adequate.

A fate that those ahead of their times usually have.

Years after his death, John Paul II acknowledged that “from the providential intuition of Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia arose in the Church a large movement of prayer for Vocations.”[1] In this regard, in a speech on May 16, 1997, he emphasized also a detail: “It is not without a providential coincidence that May 16, 1897, day when a hundred years ago the first three young men formed by Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia entered the novitiate, was precisely the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Sunday of “the Good Shepherd.” In this same Sunday, the Servant of God, Paul VI, my venerable Predecessor, established the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.”[2]

The same Pontiff enrolled him first in the register of the Blessed calling him “authentic forerunner and zealous master of modern vocation ministry,”[3] then canonizing him he gave him the well-deserved title of “distinguished Apostle of Prayer for Vocations,”[4] with which he is entered in the Proper of the Mass.


  1. L’Osservatore Romano, Homily for the Canonization, May 16, 2004
  2. Insegnamenti, XIII, 2 (1990), 830.
  3. L’Osservatore Romano October 8-9, 1990. Fr. Di Francia was beatifi ed on October 7, 1990 during the celebration of the Synodof Bishops on the theme “The Formation of priests in the present circumstances”, which produced the apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis in 1992.
  4. L’Osservatore Romano, Homily for the Canonization, May 16, 2004.

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