The Celebrations of the Anniversary of the Birth of St. Camillus Come to a Close in Rome

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn 25 May 1550, in Bucchianico (Chieti), St. Camillus de Lellis was born. This date, which is held very dear by the Camillian world (a day when the Camillian martyrs to charity are also commemorated), was celebrated in a very special way during the year of the fourth centenary of the death of St. Camillus.

The Church of St. Mary Magdalene (the location of the generalate house of the Order) was the place where all the events were held. From 22 May to 25 May the church was open to the general public from 9.00 to 24.00 and witnessed a great flow of visitors.

In preparation for 25 May a triduum of prayer for the sick and health-care workers was held which every evening witnessed the saying of the Holy Rosary, the litanies of St. Camillus and a celebration of the Eucharist.

On 22 May the Holy Mass, which was presided over by Father Antonio Marzano, the Superior of the Camillian community of St. John’s Hospital in Rome, was animated by the volunteer and prayer groups of the hospital, amongst whom a sizeable group of the Hospital Sisters of Mercy.

 On 23 May the celebration of the evening was presided over by Monsignor Ermenegildo Manicardi, the rector of the Capranica College, which is located a few steps from the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. The seminarians of the college were responsible for the animation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALastly, on Saturday 24 May, Camillian students animated the Holy Mass which was celebrated by the Superior of the Camillian studentate of Rome, Father Laurent Zoungrana. The evening ended with an organ concert given by the French maestro, Hervè Désarbre, who brought together in the Church music lovers and tourists who were in the centre of Rome.

On Saturday, as well, at the central building of the Camillianum International Institute of the Theology of Pastoral Care, a ‘forum on voluntary work’ was held on the subject ‘Solidarity without Equivocations’. At this meeting, which was chaired by the journalist of a regional Lazio television channel, Paola Aristodema, were present the Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, Monsignor Matteo Zuppi, the director for lay associations and confraternities of the Vicariate of Rome, Monsignor Antonio Interguglielmi, the chaplain of St. John’s Hospital of Rome, Father Giovanni Aquaro,  and the governor of the Women of Mercy of central Rome, Gian Piero Sbaraglia.

Sunday 25 May, the anniversary of the birth of St. Camillus, began with a solemn celebration of the Eucharist presided over by the Vicar General of the Camillians, Father Paolo Guarise, in which took part the delegates of the international assembly of the Lay Camillian Family which had come to a close the day before in Mottinello (Vicenza).

At 16.30 there was one of the most important moments of the celebrations: the meeting organised by the National Office for Pastoral Care in Health of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, whose subject was ‘Camillus: a Holy Precursor of Health Care in Italy’.

This meeting – which was chaired by the Vice-Director of Rai2, Luciano Onder – witnessed the participation of the Vicar General of the Camillians, Father Paolo Guarise; the director of the National Office for Pastoral Care in Health of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Don Carmine Arice; and the Hon. Maria Pia Garavaglia, the former Minister of Health.

When introducing the meeting, Onder went over the extraordinary human parabola of St. Camillus – who lived at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century – and his role as a forerunner of health care in Italy. ‘His life’, Onder said, ‘was an impassioned and rebellious life of love for God’, from which sprang the valuable fruits of the Order of the Ministers of the Sick, two religious Congregations for women (the Women Ministers of the Sick and the Daughters of St. Camillus) and the Lay Camillian Family.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘The message of St. Camillus’, Don Arice emphasised, ‘is of great contemporary relevance in today’s world as well, when health care us being affected by the economic crisis and by the tendency towards rationalisation’. While hospitals are becoming companies and human beings are seen as users (if not indeed customers), St. Camillus reminds us of the ‘need to humanise care and treatment and always place man at the centre of things, going beyond mere welfare’. Hoping that the great Camillian family would ‘carry forward the original insight of its founder’, Don Arice expressed the appreciation of the whole of the Italian Church for its ‘distinguished son who knew how to unite intelligence, the heart and action at the service of the sick, a credible, joyous and enterprising witness to a life lived to the full’.

‘After four hundred years, the charism of St. Camillus is more alive than ever before’, the Hon. Maria Pia Garavaglia stressed in her paper, ‘The Rules that were laid down by him’, he went on, ‘seemed to have been written today: individual care for the sick and their wellbeing, continuity in care, opposition to waste, cleanliness in hospital wards – these are only some of the principles that St. Camillus saw as ineluctable, well before they were codified into rules of nursing deontology’.

The conference was also an opportunity to present the degree thesis of Dott.essa Antonella Palumbo who has just finished her studies in nursing at TorVergataUniversity in Rome with a work on St. Camillus de Lellis, a ‘reformer of nursing care’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe final moment of the day was the solemn celebration of the Eucharist presided over by the General Secretary of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Monsignor Nunzio Galantino, which was animated by the ‘In laetitia’ Choir directed by Maestro Fabio Nesbeda, with the participation of the mezzo soprano Patrizia Iervolino.

 Look here at the photographic gallery

First day of the triduum in preparation for 25 May  
Second day of the triduum in preparation for 25 May 
Third day of the triduum in preparation for 25 May 

25 May Holy Mass presided over by F. Paolo Guarise
Conference on ‘Camillus: Forerunner of Health Care’ 25 May Holy
Mass presided over by His Excellency Msgr. Nuncio Galentino

Red the press information

Telepace –  St. Camillus de Lellis special – 21 May 2014