Pope beatifies three Catholic Action members in Loreto

Loreto (AsiaNews) – In the wee hours of the morning, an endless procession of pilgrims reached the Montorso plain to take part in the papal mass.  They were about 200,000, according to the organisers, with at least 20,000 youth sleeping over night in the field where the Pope will beatify three members of Catholic Action today.

In the past few days, Loreto hosted a national meeting of this great association of the Italian laity. The papal mass will bring to a close the meeting-pilgrimage. And during the celebration the Holy Father will raise to the altars three young members of Catholic Action –two Italian laypersons: Alberto Marvelli and Pina Suriano– and a Spanish priest –don Pedro Tarrés i Claret– whose vocation grew from within the Spanish branch of Catholic Action.

Born in Rimini (Emilia-Romagna region), Alberto Marvelli (1918–1946) is the better known of the three future Blessed. Nicknamed the "engineer of charity", he was actively involved in his hometown's Salesian oratory and other Catholic associations such as Catholic Action, San Vincenzo, FUCI (Federation of Italian Catholic University Students). His father's death forced upon him the burden of head of the family from a tender age.

At the age of 15 in 1933, he began keeping a journal, written proof of the angst pushing him towards Christian sainthood.  "I want to succeed," he wrote. "I want to follow the path of the saints. Dear Jesus! Give me the necessary strength." From its pages a clear plan for Alberto's spiritual life emerged: "Mornings: prayer and, if possible, a bit of meditation, a daily trip to the church, receiving the sacraments as often as possible; daytime: reciting the Holy Rosary every day, avoiding situations that might lead me to evil; evenings: meditation, examination of one's conscience, pleading with Jesus to help me in every moment."

During the Second World War he was always first in helping refugees and those in need. After the war he became a member of Rimini's Liberation Committee thus realising the calling for civil duty born of his faith. He died at the age of 28 in a car accident leaving disconsolate Rimini's poor and those who knew and appreciated his generous enthusiasm.

Pina Suriano's death followed Alberto's by only a few years. The young woman from Partinico (Palermo, Sicily) was born in 1915 and died at just 35 in 1950. She joined Catholic Action at the age of 10, in 1925, and as a member she distinguished herself by a vocation that seemed to lead her to the cloister. However, her parents' opposition and an uncertain health prevented her from realising her dream. In 1948, she chose to dedicate herself to God, but a year later she developed an unbearably painful incurable disease. From her sickbed Pina became, a she wrote in her memoirs, "a small ball of incense burning for love". When she died there were no doubts among the people of Partinico: "A saint was among us".

That same year Pedro Tarrés i Claret passed away. Born in 1905, don Pedro was a Spanish priest in Saint Ignatius of Loyola's own town of Manresa. In Barcelona, he studied medicine and met a young Alberto Bonet Marrugat with whom he founded the Federation of Young Christians. He entered the seminary in 1939 and was ordained priest in 1942. He was later appointed to the post of spiritual advisor to the Women's Catholic Action in Sartia. He died at the age of 45 in 1950 of a lymphoma. (LF)