March 18, 2020 - Fr. Fred Betti, SJ, associate pastor at St. Michael’s Church in Buffalo shared some photos of the restored statue of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ, (patron of young people and of victims of epidemics) that sits in the church.
Fr. Betti and his father, Frederick, salvaged this statue of Gonzaga from an old catholic grammar school as it was being demolished in 2009. It was severely damaged from years of neglect and failed attempts to repaint it with house paint. The restoration of this statue took about a year. Fr. Betti originally brought Gonzaga to Canisius high’s chapel during his years there as campus minister. St. Aloysius came with Fr. Bettie when he joined the parish staff at St. Michael’s.
Fr. Betti has been rescuing and restoring religious statuary for about forty years. It’s a vocation that he shares with his father who restored the plaster while Fr. Betti works on repainting them.
The Buffalo News also wrote a story on the statue, click here to read more.
St. Aloysius was born in Lombardy, Italy in 1568, the son of the Marquis of Castiglione. He was raised in the courts of Italy’s noble families and was highly respected for his intellectual gifts, his skill as a natural born leader and for his intense faith and devotional practices. He was repulsed by the decadent lifestyle of Renaissance nobility and was known for his strict religious practices to preserve his purity.
He became convinced that he had a vocation to the Society of Jesus. He renounced his royal title and entered the Society in 1585.
As a Jesuit in training, he immersed himself in works of service to the poor and needy in Rome. He visited prisoners, taught catechism to street children and cared for the sick and dying.
It was while tending to the dying plague victims of Rome that he himself became infected and died on June 21, 1591. He was canonized a saint in 1726.
Fr. Betti shared a timely prayer to St. Aloysius as the world deals with the coronavirus. Or click here to download a prayer cardwith the prayer.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, you were eager to care for your suffering brothers and sisters in Christ, in the midst of a terrible epidemic. You persisted in seeking permission to care for the sick, even though you knew it might endanger your own health. You felt natural revulsion toward the unpleasant realities of the sickness around you, but you wholeheartedly threw yourself into the task of caring for those who were ill and dying.
I pray through your powerful intercession for all those who are affected by this epidemic. May the Lord bring healing to the sick, wisdom to medical professionals, prudence to our civil leaders, charity towards all and hope to those who are discouraged.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga pray for us.