June 23

Bl. Andrea Giacinto Longhin

1863 - 1936

On Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 10:00am in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Capuchin Bishop Andrea Giacinto Longhin ("Andrea of Fiumicello," 1863-1936, Bishop of Treviso, Italy, 1904-1936) was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Andrea Giacinto Longhin, Bishop of Treviso, was born of humble peasant parents at Fiumicello di Campodarego (Padova) on 22 November 1863, and baptised the following day, being given the names of Giacinto and Bonaventura.

Having finished his elementary studies, he decided, at the age of 16, to become a Capuchin. He had to struggle with his father who did not want to be deprived of his only son in his work on the land.

Giacinto emerged victorious and donned the Capuchin habit at Bassano del Grappa (Vincenza) on 27 August 1879, taking the name of Brother Andrea. He finished his high school studies at the friary of Padova and there he made his solemn profession on 4 October 1883.  He finished his theological studies at Venice, and there he was ordained priest on 19 June 1886. As of 1888 he was spiritual director and teacher of the Capuchin seminary of Udine; as of 1889 he was director and teacher of the high school Capuchin clerics at Padova, and, in 1891, of the theology students in Venice.  On 18 April, he was elected Provincial Minister of the Venice Province of Capuchins.

St. Pius X nominated him bishop of his native diocese of Treviso, being pleased of "having chosen one of the most beautiful flowers of the Capuchin Order" for his own diocese. On 12 August 1907 he described him: "One of my first-begotten sons whom I gave to my favoured diocese, and I rejoice every time I am told of his being praised, as truly a holy man, learned, a bishop of the old times who will leave behind an indelible mark of apostolic zeal".

He was ordained bishop in Rome on 17 April 1904 and went to Treviso on 6 August, determined to be the good shepherd sparing himself "neither toil nor sacrifice, being prepared to give" for his church "his blood and life itself."  For 32 years he was "the good shepherd of the Church of Treviso" continuing to live the Capuchin austerity and poverty.

Preaching was one of his most coveted ministries. Not unlike St. Pius X, he had the apostolic anxiety of having the catechism taught to children, in youth clubs and to all Catholic men through cultural competitions, days of studies, schools for catechists. He held two diocesan, catechetical congresses, in 1922 and in 1932.  He was known as the "Bishop of the catechism."  He loved and looked after his priests as a father, taking special care of them even from their seminary days, giving them monthly recollections days and spiritual exercises. He met them in three pastoral visitations throughout the 213 parishes, beginning in 1905, then in 1912, and again in 1926.

In 1911 he held the synod considered "a true masterpiece of order and precision" and warmly appreciated by St. Pius X.  He followed the spirituality of St. Maria Bertilla Boscardin, the Servants of God Giuseppe Toniolo, Guido Negri and Mother Oliva Bonaldo. He had enduring friendships with the Capuchin St. Leopoldo Mandic and with St. Pius X, this last one copiously documented by epistolary correspondence and from his own self-definition:  "We who…. were such a part of his good heart."

He was a leader to the lay people, especially of youth movements, being convinced and insisting, even in his testament, that "today families, parishes, the nation, the world are in need of saints." In April 1914 he declared as sacred "the right of workmen to organise themselves… in unions for their own economic and moral upgrading."

In 1920 he gave his support to the Leghe Bianche, a union movement with Christian leanings, thus displaying himself as the bishop of the poor, the labourers and the peasants. At Trevisio, in 1920, he founded the episcopal college "Pio X" to give to the young a Christian formation.

Without ever abandoning his position or responsibilities, he faced with courage the challenge of the Great War 1915-1918, reaching out to, and encouraging citizens, refugees, soldiers, the wounded, priests, etc.   On 27 April 1917 he made a vow to build a temple in honour of the Virgin Auxiliatrix.  Hailed as "the Bishop of Piave and of Montello," he was awarded with the war decoration "Cross of Merit."

After the war he went through his diocese to encourage all to reconstruct the 47 churches left destroyed, to appease souls, to awaken all to Christian life, and to save with fearless interventions his faithful from anti-Christian and subversive ideologies.   The bishops of the Veneto region considered him as their "Patriarch of the campaign," adviser, noted theologian and tireless apostle.  In October 1923, Pius XI acknowledged the "great services" given to him by Longhin, saying, "He has worked so much for the Church."

In 1923 he was apostolic administrator of the diocese of Padova.  In 1927-28 he was visitator and administrator apostolic of the archdiocese of Udine.  On 4 October was nominated archbishop titular of Patrasso.  In 1929, on the occasion of the 25th year of the episcopate of Longhin, the Servant of God, Pietro Cardinal La Fontaine wrote:   "With joy and edification I see in him a copy of the Good Shepherd in the Gospel, very, very true to the original."

Struck with mishaps, on 3 October, he lived his Calvary for nine months of suffering, still saying Mass until 14 February 1936.  Thereafter he received Holy Communion every day. He died on Friday, 26 June 1936.  The funeral, on 30 June 1936, was impressive with everybody commenting:  "He was truly a saint."

Since 5 November 1936 he has been buried in the cathedral of Treviso.  At the inspection, 12-22 November 1984, the body was found "entire with tender parts and a large part mummified."  The informative process took place in the diocese of Treviso from 21 April 1964 to 26 June 1967 with two Curial processes held in Padova and in Udine.  The decree about the revision of the many writings is of 17 December 1971.   The decree of the introduction of the cause is dated 15 December 1982. The apostolic process was done at Ttreviso from 18 June 1982 to 26 June 1985.  The Positio was delivered in 1998 and the decree on the heroic virtues was promulgated on 21 December.  He was beatified by John Paul II on October 20, 2002.