The memory of Blessed Domenico Lentini. Birth, childhood, family

EDITORIAL – Domenico was born in Lauria on 20 November 1770; he receives baptism on the same day of his birth in the Church of San Nicola di Bari.

His parents, Macario and Rosalia Vitarelli, are humble, honest and God-fearing people.

Domenico spent his childhood in the characteristic alleys of Cafaro, an ancient district rich in history. Along the stream of the same name, which flows noisy and impetuous, he enjoys jumping from one bank to another, throwing stones into the water, watching them slip among the waves and then disappear carried away by the current. It is also easy to imagine Domenico getting his hands and feet wet and having fun with his friends by spraying each other with water.

The journey he takes with his mother Rosalia to go to the sanctuary of the Assumption is almost daily. After a stop in the little church of Santa Veneranda, they walk hand in hand, reciting the rosary, along a narrow street between houses very close to each other, among which the ancient arch of Sant’Antuono is set. Going up, they stop for a brief prayer in the little church of Santa Lucia-San Pasquale. After a last steep flight of steps they can finally breathe a sigh of relief because the road becomes flat. The last uphill section opens, by magic, in a square where the sanctuary of the Assunta stands. Before entering the church, mother Rosalia and Domenico pause to admire the splendid panorama: the entire Valle del Noce in the distance and, closer, the two districts of Lauria.

Macario and Rosalia, in an era of great political upheavals and enormous economic hardships, face huge sacrifices to raise their five children: Domenica, Rosa, Nicola, Antonio and Domenico. Their humble home, in the Cafaro district, is adjacent to the chapel of San Vincenzo, both destroyed in the bombing of 7 September 1943.

Rather slender Domenico, robust and endowed with great physical strength, on the other hand, Nicola, called by his friends Sansone. It is said that he was overbearing and abusive with little Domenico, who sometimes reproached him for some impertinence of him.

Rosalia is very devoted to the Madonna to the point that when her husband Macario falls ill, she fervently prays to her to heal him, offering her life in exchange. The Virgin accepts her plea: Macario recovers and a year later Rosalia dies.

At the beginning Macario’s discouragement was great, but slowly, trusting in the Lord and intensifying his work as a tanner, he managed to guarantee the family what was necessary to live.

Dominic feels the call to the priesthood when he is still a child. Aware of the family’s precarious economic conditions, he shyly expresses his vocation to his father Macario, who tells him:

“If you really want to become a priest, you will be a priest. I had to make more debts!”

Today, November 20, in memory of his birth, in the Diocesan Shrine of Blessed Domenico Lentini: at 11 Eucharistic celebration of the bishop Mons. Vincenzo Orofino and at 18 Solemn Holy Mass.

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The memory of Blessed Domenico Lentini. Birth, childhood, family