3/14 Fifty-third Anniversary of the Ordination of Fr. Bernardino Bucci
Padre Bernardino Bucci (second from right)
At the Opening of Luisa’s Cause
In Rome – March 7, 2006
In 1964 Father Bernardino Bucci was ordained to the Priesthood in the Capuchin Church of Triggiano by Archbishop Nicodemo of Bari.
Padre Bucci was sent to the International College in Rome to specialize in Missionary Theology. When he returned to his Province, he was appointed Spiritual Director of the Seraphic Seminary of Scorrano. He studied for a licentiate and a doctorate, taking the course at the Ecumenical Faculty of St. Nicholas of Bari; where at the same time, in 1972, he acquired a degree in Literature.
As co-founder with Sr. Assunta Marigliano of the Association of the Divine Will, he spent many years as the spiritual adviser of the Association which was canonically erected in Corato on March 4, 1987. He is currently a member of the Tribunal for the cause for beatification of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarretta, which was opened on the Feast of Christ the King, 1994, in the main church of Corato by Archbishop Carmello Cassati, now emeritus, in his role as Promoter of the Faith.
He is the only person officially authorized by the current Archbishop Giovanni Battista Pichierri of the Archdiocese of Trani, Italy to speak in the USA concerning the Cause and Spirituality of the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta.
My family, deeply religious, wanted one of us boys to be a priest, given that my father’s branch of the family had been richly endowed with priests and a cousin of my mother’s was then Vicar General of the Diocese of Salerno, at the time of the famous Bishop Balducci Monterisi. My mother had kept up a correspondence with this cousin, with whom we were not personally acquainted. I only remember that she spoke enthusiastically of him.
The eyes of the family were focused on my brother Agostino, a tidy, well-educated, hard-working and reserved boy: in brief, a suitable type for an ecclesiastical career. Aunt Rosaria was very pleased when my brother expressed the wish to enter a seminary; the opinion of our parish priest, Fr. Cataldo Tota, of venerable and holy memory, was very flattering.
His clothes were prepared. My aunt prepared a cassock with lace borders. Everything was ready for my brother Agostino to enter the Seminary of Bisceglie. However, an unexpected event then occurred which upset everything, so that my brother never did enter the seminary. The cause of it all was Fr. Andrea Bevilacqua, who recommended that Agostino, his pupil in middle school, not be sent to the seminary, but wait until he had completed at least the fifth year of secondary school; he would then enter Molfetta Seminary directly without having been to the minor seminary, which Fr. Andrea did not think could guarantee an adequate formation. Aunt Rosaria was very upset at this event and one day complained to Luisa:
“After having spent so much, Agostino will not even be entering the seminary”.
It should be said that Luisa had already previously proved silent and indifferent to this plan. Although Agostino diligently visited her house and although she knew of his intentions, Luisa never gave him a word of encouragement as she had to other boys who had expressed the same wish. Luisa responded to my aunt’s complaints in my presence, by saying: “Rosaria, Rosaria…. You are trying to substitute God’s Will with your own! The Lord does not want him”, and turning her eyes to me, she said to her: “Look after this one! Because the Lord wants this one and not that one”.
Aunt Rosaria was amazed to hear the words of Luisa who said:
“Yes, this very one who is the rebel of the family!”.
In fact, I loved street life. I was very lively and surrounded myself with poor children. My companions systematically played truant from school, they went about barefoot, smelling of the hens, sheep and rabbits that were raised in their homes. Therefore I did not work very hard at school either, and was the despair of my middle-class family (my mother was a teacher and my father, a municipal employee).
I did not attach much importance to Luisa’s words; I was only in the fourth year of elementary school; there were big social problems; the collapse of Fascism, the German occupation; schools were closed and food was scarce. I completely forgot Luisa’s words. After Luisa’s death, on 4 March 1947, my Aunt Rosaria often thought of what Luisa had said and began to look at me inquiringly, as though she wanted to detect any signs of my inclination. Later, to the great wonder of all, Peppino, the rowdiest boy in the district of Via Andria, entered the seminary, not the diocesan seminary but the Seraphic Seminary of the Friars Minor Capuchin of Barletta. It was 1948. A year had passed since Luisa Piccarreta’s death. Many bet, given my character, that my stay in the seminary would not last long, and that I would be a nuisance there too. Many even criticized my mother for rashly having allowed me to enter it.
Time proved these inauspicious predictions wrong and the townspeople began to give credit to the words of my Aunt Rosaria, who proudly told everyone how Luisa had prophesied that I would be a priest. Aunt Rosaria would say with determination: “Peppino will succeed in becoming a priest. It is God’s Will, expressed by Luisa”.
Padre Bucci with his Aunt Rosaria and brother Agostino
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