There are very many hill top towns and villages dotted around the picturesque mountainous region of Italy known as the Abruzzo. Many were, sadly, devastated in the earthquake in 2009. One of them was the little town of Capestrano. The great shrine of the saint we celebrate tomorrow is there.
St John of Capestrano was born there in 1386. As a young man he had a very promising career as a lawyer ahead of him. Butit wasn’t sufficient and John eventually became a Franciscan friar. Doubtless using the oratorical skills he had picked up in this training for the law. John became a renowned preacher not just in his native Italy but across much of Europe. He died in1456 worn out by the preaching of the gospel.
Today we can do three things: firstly, let us pray for the people of the Abruzzo region who are still trying to rebuild their shattered lives; secondly let us thank God for the men and women in every age who cast aside their own careers to put their talents at the service of the gospel; thirdly, let us pray for lawyers, on this the feast of their patron saint.