On October 30-31, 2019, the 100th Anniversary of the death of Friar Antonio MANSI was celebrated by the community of the Friary of St. Francis of Assisi in Ravello, a charming town on the Amalfi Coast (Province of Salerno, Italy). Friar Antonio MANSI, a co-founder of the Militia of the Immaculate (M.I.) died in Rome, on October 31, 1918.
Others attending the anniversary event included members of the MANSI family and members of the local city council. The event also coincided with the dates of a long summer break that St. Maximilian once took in Ravello, from June 4, to July 8, 1919.
The Most Reverend Gianfranco GIROTTI, OFM Conv., Former Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, presided over a prayer service, which was introduced by Friar Gianfranco GRIECO. The service was held in Ravello’s Sambuco District. From there, a long procession took place, accompanied by hymns, prayers and the reading of some Kolbean texts. At the end of the procession, the bishop blessed a memorial plaque which contained a text written by Friar Maximilian himself: “Wonderful views: the mountains, sloping down either into woodland or into rocks, form a ravine: a mountain stream bubbles over its base. Near its mouth lies Minori, a small town by the sea. From here, the sea extends to the horizon.”
On October 31, Bishop GIROTTI presided over the closing morning Mass. Those concelebrating included the Pastor Emeritus of the Parish of Ravello, Monsignor Peppino Imperato (a relative of Friar Antonio MANSI); the Pastor of the cathedral, Father Angelo MANSI; and Friar Gianfranco GRIECO.
After the Mass, Professor Salvatore AMATO, a historian and the Deputy Director of the State Archive of Salerno, gave a talk on the city of Ravello and the civil society at the time that St. Maximilian made his visit. Friar Gianfranco GRIECO, a biographer of both St. Maximilian KOLBE and Friar Antonio MANSI, gave a presentation on the parallel lives of these two “treasures” of the Conventual Franciscan family. Both were founders of the M.I. movement at the International Seraphic College on Via San Teodoro, in Rome, during the First World War (October 16, 1917). Through the holiness of their lives, they launched a new season of rebirth of the Seraphic Order in Italy and in the world.
Friar Giorgio TUFANO, the Provincial Secretary of the Province of the Seraphic Father St. Francis in Italy (Naples), talked about some initiatives that were aimed at promoting this year’s 100th anniversary celebration. Friar Giorgio read a text written for this event by Friar Raffaele DI MURO, the Vice-Postulator for the cause of beatification for Friar Antonio MANSI. In his text, Friar Raffaele hoped that the conclusion of this celebration might be the start of a journey aimed at fostering knowledge of Friar Antonio MANSI, as the cause for his beatification continues.
Actor-directors Alfonso MANSI and Enzo DEL PIZZO proclaimed some passages from St. Maximilian’s “Daily Notes,” which he wrote in Ravello from June 4 to July 8, 1919. The young musician Simone GARGANO performed the popular “Hymn to Blessed Bonaventure of Potenza” on the trumpet. The hymn was written by Friar Antonio MANSI and recomposed for the occasion by Friar Gianfranco GRIECO.
The Vice-Mayor of Ravello, Mr. Salvatore Ulisse DE PALMA, complimented the MANSI family and the friars for their joyful anniversary celebration. He hoped that this annual event could attract the youth culture on the Amalfi Coast, and through the experience of the young Friar Antonio MANSI, inspire them to be witnesses of Christian life and love in the complex plural society of our time.
To conclude, a video was shown entitled “Father Kolbe in Campania“. It was produced by some regional M.I. members who attended the meeting.
Fra Gianfranco GRIECO