Our parish patron saint was born in the famous town of Assisi, Italy on March 1, 1838. His family name was Francis Possenti. He was the eleventh of thirteen children born to Sante Possenti and Agnes Frisciotti Possenti. Sante was both a civil and Church lawyer, and served as an appointed public official in the Papal States, which included large sections of what would eventually become a unified Italy in 1859.
Young Francis was a normal young boy and teenager. He was interested in hunting and dancing and the theater, and was very popular among the other youth in Spoleto, where the family had moved from Assisi.
Francis experienced a calling to the religious and priestly life and entered the Congregation of the Passionists, a religious community devoted to the living and preaching the saving merits of Our Lord's passion and death. He took vows in the Passionist community and was given the religious name, Gabriel of the Sorrowful One (or sorrowful Mother). He was stricken with tuberculosis about a year before he was to be ordained a priest and died on February 27, 1862 in the Passionist monastery at Gran Sasso in the Abruzzi region of Italy.
Gabriel's life as a religious was marked by a faithfulness to prayer, love of sacrifice, heroic virtue, and a very cheerful disposition despite his illness. Through his intercession, after his death, miraculous cures were obtained.
Pope Benedict XV canonized Gabriel in 1920 and declared him a patron of Catholic youth. In 1959, Pope John XXIII named him the patron of the Abruzzi region, where he spent the last two years of his earthly life. His shrine at Gran Sasso is one of the more popular ones in Europe.
Let us Pray.
God our Father, you alone are holy; without you, nothing is good. Trusting in the prayers of Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, our parish patron, we ask you to help us to become the holy people you call us to be. Never let us be found undeserving of the glory you have prepared for us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer to Saint Gabriel