Zeal or Fixation?

Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia was fully aware of his eagerness to draw the  attention of the whole Christian world on this subject, to the point that, with his  usual bit of irony, he had to write in his Funeral speech: “For the Rogate let  us not say anything: for it he devoted himself either for zeal or fixation, or  both.”[1]

In his turn, one of the censors-theologians of his writings had pointed out:  even here we must take his modesty: it wasn’t for fixation, it was for zeal. He  as  so affected by the need, for the Church, to have many worthy workers and by the effectiveness of the evangelical remedy in order to implore them, that,  to realize it, he moved heaven and earth.

That argument was the reason of his life, the dominant theme of his writings,  the characteristic of his work. To this end he obtained the blessing and  membership and spiritual collaboration of the Prelates of the Holy Church  (Supreme Pontiffs, Cardinals, Bishops, Superiors General of Orders and  Religious Congregations).”[2]

What Jesus had said was ultimately the program that inspired him throughout  his life and his charitable activities towards the neighbor. Prayer and charity  formed the two themes on which he wanted to focus his own existence.   But how  do others understand it? Talking about it, writing about it, always acting  on it. And he did so such that even after a long time his words resonate with a  surprising actuality.

And not only this. After the disastrous earthquake in Messina on December 28,  1908, when Pope Pius X built for him a gift of a wooden church, he wanted to  place on the façade: “Rogate Dominum messis.” It was the first church dedicated to the prayer for Vocations. It was the First of July 1910.

The goal was truly achieved when on April 3, 1921, he placed the first stone of  the new concrete Church, which was the Temple of the Evangelical Rogation,[3]  current minor basilica in Messina. For this building he studied the  iconographic design and other details, so that it would become a reference  model for those who wanted to dedicate a church to the Divine Command.


  1.  Vitale, 759.
  2. Positio super Scriptis, Roma 1959, 30; Tusino, MB, I, 544
  3. Cfr. Vitale, 483-485.

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