On January 15, 2022, the Most Reverend Corrado LOREFICE, Archbishop of Palermo, Italy, presided over a Mass to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of Friar Gregorio Matteo LA GRUA, OFM Conv. The Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of Palermo with members of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Movement participating. During the Mass, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily), Friar Gaspare LA BARBERA, publicly announced the start of the preliminary phase (gathering information and promoting the cause) so that the official process of the beatification of our confrere, Friar Matteo, can proceed.
Friar Matteo LA GRUA died ten years ago, but the memory of his funeral at the cathedral, and the great crowd of people that attended, is still very much alive, particularly for the many who knew him and considered him a holy man.
Here are some biographical details from his life.
Friar Gregorio Matteo LA GRUA was born February 14, 1914, in Castelbuono, Sicily. At the age of twelve, he entered the minor seminary of the Friars Minor Conventual in Montevago, Sicily. In 1930, he made his temporary profession. He continued his high school studies and philosophy studies in Palermo. On March 19, 1935, he made his solemn profession at the Seraphicum International College in Rome, where he was enrolled. On July 25, 1937, he was ordained to the priesthood. In 1940, he graduated from the Seraphicum.
He returned to Palermo, Sicily, and taught in the Provincial seminary from 1939 to 1952. From 1952 to 1958, he taught at the archdiocesan seminary and at the ecclesiastical college of Palermo and served as Minister Provincial. He was in charge of conducting Canonical Visitations in the Provinces of Naples and Spain. He served as Vicar for religious life in the Archdiocese of Palermo. He was a member of the regional ecclesiastical tribunal, and, starting in 1975, served as the spiritual assistant for the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Movement and Director and spiritual assistant of the charismatic Catholics in the diocese of Palermo. He served as Exorcist for the Diocese of Palermo and was considered an authority in this area at various levels.
Since leading the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Movement in Palermo, he became increasingly famous, even abroad. Over time, many faithful testified to the benefits they received from having met him, including physical and spiritual healing.
The Conventuals remember him vividly, as does the vast world of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Movement, which Friar Matthew led, since its inception, in Palermo and Sicily. However, he also reached multitudes of people, from all walks of life and different geographical areas. Given his reputation of holiness and for the multiplicity of signs that are attested to, his fame is expected to keep growing.
Again, the Province of Sicily has begun the preliminary phase of gathering information in view of beginning the process for the beatification and canonization of our dear Friar Gregorio Matteo LA GRUA, whom most people remember simply as “Father Matteo.” In addition, the Province has entrusted Professor Maria LO PRESTI as the promoter of his cause.
Professor Maria LO PRESTI