Blessed Timothy Giaccardo
Priest Religious (1896 -1948)
Saint Of the day October 22
Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, named Joseph at his birth on 13 June 1896, was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 October 1989: His life is a shining example of the importance the Catholic Church now attaches to the “apostolate of the good press” started by Blessed James Alberione, the Founder of the Pauline Family. Born a normal, healthy looking baby to Stephen and Maria Giaccardo at Narzole, Italy, Joseph fell terribly ill at the tender age of 6 months. Fearing for his life, the devout parents pinned all their hope on the Blessed Virgin and thus had their son miraculously cured.
Early in life, virtues such as hard work, filial devotion to Mary and a special love for the Eucharist were inculcated in the growing Joseph by his parents, whose personal example of a simple and honest lifestyle, coupled with a deep bond of love with the Church, was a source of great inspiration to the youngster.
At 12, he came under the influence of Fr James Alberione, who was deeply impressed by the young lad’s intelligent questions, sensible answers and positive response to his counsel. In October 1908, Joseph entered the Seminary at Alba where Fr Alberione was Spiritual Director. With Fr Alberione soon shifting out to start his apostolate of the mass media along with a group of youngsters, Joseph experienced a strong yearning to be part of the new venture. But the very concept of such an apostolate was alien to many in the Church and grossly misunderstood, even by the local Bishop who sternly directed Joseph to choose between the priesthood and the apostolate of the press. Joseph, sure of his convictions, chose the latter and was warmly welcomed by Fr Alberione into his fold.
Joseph went on to become the right hand man of the far sighted Fr Alberione who himself confirmed this fact by presenting him to his boys as their “Maestro” (guide and leader). In time he came to be known as the Signor Maestro in the Pauline family.
Joseph Giaccardo was one of the five who made their first profession in the Society of St Paul on 8 September 1917, renaming himself Timothy in honour of the most trusted and beloved disciple of St Paul. Meanwhile, Divine Providence had apparently willed that Timothy be not only the first Pauline Priest but also the first priest in the Catholic Church to be ordained explicitly for the ministry of the. mass media! With the formal approval of the very same Bishop of Alba, Timothy once agaii pursued his studies for the priesthood and was ordained priest on 19 October 1919, eight days ahead of the rest of his batch- mates specifically so that his beloved mother, on the deathbed due to cancer, would be able to share his happiness.
Timothy himself died of leukaemia on 24 January 1948, but not before he had actively collaborated with his mentor, Fr Alberione, in founding and fostering the growth of the various congregations that go to make up the Pauline Family. To him goes the credit of being the first in the Pauline Family to be raised to the honours of the altar.