Italy - 50th anniversary of Bishop Giuseppe Cognata’s transit celebrated on July 22

20 July 2022

(ANS - Pellaro) - The 50th anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Monsignor Giuseppe Cognata is approaching, which occurred on July 22, 1972, in Pellaro (Reggio Calabria), the place where the Congregation of the Salesian Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart had begun. Very intense was his pastoral mystery in the land of Calabria in the years from 1933, when he was consecrated bishop of Bova, until his dismissal from the episcopal order in 1940 as a result of slanderous libels.

His episcopate was characterized by intense pastoral zeal to subsidize a social and religious situation marked by great poverty and neglect in a diocese, Bova, which was small and among Italy’s poorest. He chose as his episcopal motto "Caritas Christi urget nos," and in his first address to the diocese he recommended "with the heart of Blessed Don Bosco to all who can cooperate, the holy work of religious instruction and festive oratories." A harsh reality that of the Calabrian diocese; but he was not discouraged and after seeking the help of some religious congregations he founded one with a missionary disposition and dedicated to the evangelization and human promotion of the poorest: the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart.

His sudden death on 22 July 1972 occurred in Calabria, the land that had witnessed his episcopal ministry and the foundation of the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart. Such reunion was a visible sign of divine complaisance to his tortured existence; an unexpected reward to a thirty-year Calvary; a promise of sure development to a work that had grown in silence and pain. Once more Providence was writing straight across lines. Enmities, misunderstandings, and condemnations ended in a modest return, which had the meaning of final victory and exaltation of a work, which blossomed in the Extraordinary Holy Year of Redemption (1933) and grew in the shadow of the Cross.

The Salesian bishop's witness is of great relevance today because it invites us to persevere even in the greatest hardships of life; to value even the "crumbs" of and in the small occasions in life’s daily routine; to devote time and energy to the education of the new generations through schools and oratories; to form ourselves as Christians committed to ecclesial and social life with a spirit of sacrifice, with gratuity, becoming builders of fraternal communion. Even today, many people look to Bishop Giuseppe Cognata as an intercessor and example of evangelical fortitude in the difficult hours of life, accepting his life's teaching: "Enlighten with faith everything you do and everything that happens to you and all the people with whom you deal: everything and everyone in the light and love of Jesus!"

Several events have been planned for this anniversary: on July 22, on the 50th anniversary of the Servant of God's transit, a Eucharistic Celebration, presided over by Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni SDB, Postulator General, will be held in Pellaro di Reggio Calabria in the church of Santa Maria del Lume. An evening of dance and music will follow. On July 23, the musical "The Holiness of Sweetness" by Charmonie Vocal Group from Tivoli will be presented. On July 24 in Bova at 10 a.m., the street named after Bishop Cognata will be blessed and at 11 a.m. the Solemn Eucharistic Concelebration will be held in the Co-Cathedral Maria SS. dell'Isodia, presided over by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Reggio Calabria-Bova Archbishop Fortunato Morrone.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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