Venerable Luigi Sodo, Bishop

On 21st mai 2022, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorised the Congregation to promulgate the Decree concerning the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Luigi Sodo, Bishop of Telese or Cerreto, born in Naples on 26 May 1811 and died in Cerreto Sannita on 30 July 1895.

 

VENERABLE LUIGI SODO, BISHOP

The Venerable Monsignor Luigi Sodo (1811-1895), after his priestly years in the famous district of Santa Lucia in Naples, governed the diocese of Telese Cerreto as bishop for forty-two years, from 1853 until his death. In accordance with his episcopal motto, Fortiter et suaviter, his ministry was characterised by apostolic vigour and loving care for the people. He was primarily concerned with the training of priests, restructured the seminary, reorganised the parishes, and made several pastoral visits. He promoted catechism and popular missions and wrote many letters and notifications to encourage the faithful to a more intense life of faith. He lived poorly and favoured the poor, whom he always helped with generosity. Monsignor Sodo loved the Church tenderly, venerated the great pontiffs who led it in his time (Pius IX and Leo XIII) and defended it from the attacks brought against it in the challenging climate of the national unification of Italy. Slanderously accused of inciting the people against the state, he experienced the harshness of prison and was put on trial, which recognised his innocence. He considered this moral suffering, like the physical ones that were never lacking in his life, a configuration to Christ on the cross, whose passion he contemplated with heartfelt emotion. Already considered a man of God in life, the Lord called him to Himself on 30 July 1895. Everyone recognised in him the ‘good shepherd’, the compassionate bishop who, animated by faith and sustained by hope, had known how to lead his sheep on the difficult paths of the world with prudence, justice, wisdom, fortitude and humility. His cause for beatification, which began in 1916, was entrusted to the Rev. Father Luca De Rosa, OFM, Postulator General, in 2004.