Coat of Arms of Archbishop Leonardo D’Ascenzo
“The harvest is plentiful. This is the expression that I chose as my motto after the announcement of my appointment as archbishop of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie. It is the expression that more than any other recurs in pastoral work for vocations, the area that characterized in particular my priestly ministry. It is the expression that marked my whole story”. Those were the first words of thanksgiving that the newly ordained Archbishop Leonardo D’Ascenzo said in his greeting at the celebration.”
Above Quote from Archbishop D’Ascenzo’s Episcopal Ordination on January 14, 2018
The Rogationist Apostolate
Since the time of his youth, Saint Annibale felt himself singularly drawn to prayer in order to obtain priests for the Church. Particularly in his lengthy adorations before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, he would sorely lament the need for “other Christs.” When he read in the Gospel the words of Jesus: “Rogate ergo Dominum messis ut mittat operarios in messem suam (Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest),” Matt. 9, 38; Luke10, 2, a supernatural light illuminated his mind. He understood that the Lord was calling him to devote his life and every energy to propagating the divine command and beseeching others to obey this categorical order from the Divine Master. He would say over and over: “People pray for the rain, for good crops, for freedom from divine punishment, and they forget about praying to God so He’ll send good evangelical workers into the mystical harvest.” He accordingly wrote and promulgated a series of glowing prayers which are compiled in a booklet form and translated into different languages. “The salvation of the world,” he said, “depends on priests, and the means we have to obtain them is found surely and infallibly in the prayer commanded by Our Lord Jesus Christ; not to obey the command of Jesus means not to desire priests, not to desire the salvation of the world.” In an ardent invocation to the Sacred Heart, he fervently entreated: “How come all those who love You don’t address to this wholesome prayer? How come, when so many souls are perishing…the Catholic world doesn’t rise up in one body to implore from Your Divine Heart…numerous priests? Spread, O Lord, from the north to south and from east to west, this spirit of prayer. May the hearts of all Your cardinals, Your bishops, Your priests, and the entire Church burn and spill over with this spirit… May the hearts of all the virgins and nuns consecrated to You be inflammed with this spirit … We ask You, Lord Jesus, that the evangelical prayer of Your Heart will triumph throughout the Church and throughout the world. Let it become a universal prayer … May the eyes of all be penetrated by that ceaseless sound from Your longing Heart: ‘The harvest indeed is abundant, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest …’”
The excerpt above is from a Biography of St. Annibale Di Francia, who was both the confessor and ecclesial advisor of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.