Prete Puo’ Bastare – Book

Diocesan Priest, Oblate of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Monteforte Irpino (AV) Rome
January 11, 1899 May 2, 1934


pages 7-8

Monteforte lrpino is a village not too far from Avellino ( Naples). nestled among chestnut trees and surrounded by very tall mountains.
There are four thousand inhabitants, mostly farmers. Antonio and Angela Gallo run a modest grocery store and a small care’. They are exemplary Christians with a solid faith and a strong devotion to the Immaculate Conception. They often go on pilgrimages to
Montevergine and Pompei, sometimes even barefooted. They are very much loved and esteemed and well known for their generosity and parish involvement. They have nine children, Lucia, Pasquale, Emesto, Concenzio, Roberto, Davide, Vincenzo, Mario and Francesco.

pages 9-10

Vincenzo makes his first communion at the age of seven. He is a good and diligent boy, so much so, he earns the nickname “Friar”. At the age of 10 his father dies. Everyone leaves to look for work with the exception of Roberto. Vincenzo and Mario are placed in an orphanage where they receive an education.

pages 11 -12

Vincenzo knew deep down that God was calling him to the priesthood. As soon as his mother found out. she went to talk to her nephew, Padre Gelasio Palladino, who was part of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart. He helped him get accepted into the Congregation.

In 1913 Vincenzo spent the summer at Lucia’s house. During that time his sister noticed her brother’s zeal and how he had made the spirituality of the founder, Padre Dehon, his own. She also noticed how strong his desire was to suffer and sacrifice for God.

pages 13 – 16

The Institute of the Oblates of the Sacred Heart was founded in 1878 and later became. “Priests of the Sacred Heart”. Vincenzo was thirteen years old when he entered. Even at that young age, he knew that for him this was the fulfillment of a cherished dream. In tact in his last Will and Testament (1925) he wrote, •1 am on fire for God and no one will ever be able to put out this flame, no matter what they do to me, even if they dump
buckets of Icy water all over me:

ever be able to put out this flame, no matter what they do to me. even if they dump buckets of icy water all over me:

pages 17 – 19

Vincenzo was the nervous type, but somehow he managed to control himself and keep a joyful attitude at all times. He was a gentle peacemaker as well.

pages 20- 21 • 22

These pages describe him as a perfect servant always ready to do whatever was necessary to serve the Congregation. without counting the cost

pages 23 • 24

When on vacation at Albino. he was put in charge of his group During the night someone erupted in a loud laughter creating a disturbance. The morning after the superior wanted an account of what had happened Vincenzo. with the outmost simplicity. replied that he did not hear anything because he was hard of hearing. But later he gently asked his friends to observe the rule of silence alter the night prayers.

His life could be compared to the” Via Dotorosa” but he never showed it. There was always a smile on his face no matter what He had the ability to laugh at himself with great humility and sense of humor. For this reason he was known as.”Humble Antonio.” Nothing ever faced him. so much was he in love with God.

pages 25 -26

Vincenzo is in a classroom. the professor falls down and the all class bursts into a loud laughter except for Vincenzo. The professor directs his anger at him despite his innocence. Vincenzo does not defend himself He takes the abuse without saying a word.

For the rest of his life this becomes his way of responding to similar situations. all for the love of God. There is a flame m his soul that makes him charitable toward others even when they are wrong. He would rather take the blame than make someone else suffer. This is considered heroic virtue.

pages 27- 28 blank


pages 29- 30- 31

Vincenzo is almost twenty years old. He is serving in the military in the Trentino area. The First World War had just ended. It’s Christmas Day and he wants to go Mass, but it is his duty to be a good soldier. There has to be a way to escape for one day and be
where he can celebrate the birth of Christ.

It was not easy to convince his soldier friend to take his place. but eventually he agrees and Vincenzo is tree to make the difficult journey to his home town and join his relatives and friends for the Mass. The trip was very difficult and made even more so because of snow and ice that went trough his boots making his feet feel like they were frozen. He did not care about the sacrifice. all he kept thinking was the “Church”.

When he gets into town it’s 5 o’clock in the morning, the church is still closed. He waits outside until they open it and his overjoyed relatives and friends arrive. When he went back to resume his duties everyone was astonished as to how he was able to pull that one without a bit of anxiety, but only the certainty of having done what was right in the eyes of God and because madly in love with Jesus. When in love one will do anything for the loved one without fear.

pages 32-33

What happened that night was a secret he kept deep down in his soul and would establish a pattern for the rest of his life. He was very faithful to his duties without ever compromising, but with equilibrium, coherence and never choosing the easy way out. For all this there was a price to be paid and his price was “solitude”. During the wild parties he would hold on to Jesus’ hand and sit alone. He knew what he wanted to achieve and he did it by facing alone any kind of ridicule and misunderstanding.

The indifference of others and that cold night did not kill the flame that burned inside of him. Vincenzo had to earn everything at a very high price, but he was gifted with great patience, good will and spirit of sacrifice that he displayed with great generosity.

His health began to decline after a bad fall he took. He slammed his head against a wall after skidding on ice. This incident left him in very poor health and unbearable pain, but despite it all he never complained and kept on moving on. That secret inside
of him was his moving force.


pages 34-35

Vincenzo is still in the army facing all kinds of dangers that would appear day and night when least expected. The enemy was always ready to attack. Meantime he begins to have heart trouble and together with so many other unexpected trials, his life becomes a real martyrdom. It’s a wonder that he was able to overcome his fears and embrace it all.


Vincenzo is going home on leave. His friends and relatives are waiting for him. When he arrives, knowing that during the war food was scarce, he hands out bread and cans of sardines.

Pages 38-39-40 blank

pages 41-42

During his school years, Vincenzo is humiliated every day by his school mates who make fun of him and torment him over every little thing. They picked on him because he wasn’t too bright and had several health problems related to the nervous system.

pages 43-44

School work was not easy for him because of poor health. But he tried his best and despite it all he was able to pass every year.

pages 45-46

Padre Paolo Ceseroli remembers: In 1925 Padre Antonio was getting terrible pain in the forehead and felt very weak. Despite it all he continue to study without ceasing. Padre Ceseroli took him to a psychiatrist who said Padre Antonio needed to suspend
his studies. work on a farm and breath fresh air. The outdoor life would help him restore his health and keep him away from his studies. This was a great suffering for him. On the way back from the doctor he confided that if he ever became a priest he would understand souls better because of this suffering. After he became a priest, someone at meeting Padre Antonio said, “I finally found a priest I like.”



During a Theology course ( 1923-1927) his health worsen. his headaches were so bad, he could not function. He could no longer study. In 1926 he was diagnosed with a very rare disease •”The Thomsen Disease• which is a congenital disease caused by the contraction and rigidity of nerves and muscles. lt manifests itself with unbearable pain in the calf to the point of not being able to walk. and terrible headaches. The doctor gave him no hope, but told him that he would be a saint because of the way he embraced his suffering, then he gave him a piece of paper with written on it,

“Immediate Canonization”

This was not what Antonio was hoping to hear.


When he told his mother. she Immediately made an appointment with another doctor who confirmed the diagnosis and told him there was no cure for it. In March of 1928 in a letter to his brother, Pasqualino, he wrote that the suffering was unbearable and atrocious and could no longer function property. In another letter (July 1930) he said that nothing had changed.

pages 51 – 52

Padre Antonio did not choose the Cross. He said yes to it with tears falling down his cheeks and sadness in his heart. He accepted the Will or God , but never understood why. The Cross is a mystery. His faith tells him that the Cross does not have the last word. The Resurrection does. Suffering is never a good thing, but God knows why and eventually the reason is revealed. Padre Antonio offered everything up even before he
became priest.

pages53 – 54


pages 55-56-57

After the news of his illness came out he was asked to leave the Congregation and go home to take care of himself. This for him was another terrible blow, but again he obeyed and in July 1927 he returned home. His brother Mario told us that his superior. Padre Philippe, would allow him to go back as soon as he was cured. The plan of God was being fulfilled in a mysterious way.

pages 58- 59

Mam ma Angela tried to console her son the best way she knew how. but nothing worked. Antonio felt like a failure and saw his cherished dream of being a priest disappear because of an illness. But on the other hand he knew that God had a reason for all this, therefore. kept the torch lit no matter what.

pages 60- 61

In September 1927 he goes on a pilgrimage to Lourdes with a sick friend. Nothing happens there in terms of healing, but he comes back with a renewed spiritual strength and greater respect for the plan of God tor him. Also the comfort and peace and the many graces he received from Mary would sustain him when he returned to Monteforte lrpino.

pages 62-63

The care of his mother helped somehow. but Padre Antonio only had one thing on his mind, return to his real home which was the Congregation.

pages 64- 65

From the letters he wrote to Padre Philippe it’s clear that he was torn between wanting to stay in his Congregation and the responsibility to obey his superior. who wanted him to ask the pastor of the Sacred Heart Parish in Avellino if he could serve there. That broke his heart. He could not understand why it was okay to serve as a priest in the parish and not in the Congregation. The reason he was given was that he needed a certificate of good health and he did not have one. His illness was incurable. Padre Antonio came to the conclusion that God had given him two heavy crosses to embrace and so he did.


pages 66- 67

Padre Antonio received a dispensation from the vows he made when he entered the Congregation, but he was not at peace. His conscience tormented him despite a letter from Padre Philippe ( March 1930) reassuring him that he was still a son of the Congregation and he should just move on serving God in the parish. Antonio replied by saying that his heart was deeply troubled as he remembered the joy he felt when he took those vows.

pages 68-69

In a letter written by Padre Antonio to Padre Philippe in 1930 asking for the dispensation from his vows he says he will always feel the spiritual benefits of having belonged to the Congregation up to his death when he will enter his real home. The only home that really counts. This, however, did not make his martyrdom of having to leave less bearable.

pages 70- 71-72

pages 73- 74- 75

It’s November 7, 1928, another painful blow. His mother dies. What made it worse was his brother Robert ,who was considered the black sheep of the family. His mother would always say,” I would live with any of my children, but never with Roberto.” His brother Mario once described his character as difficult and arrogant and this was made even worse by his wife and mother-in-law, Maria Cecere who both caused trouble and disagreements in the family. One day both women went to see him and humiliated him with nasty words and aggressive behavior. His mother had left a debt of 13 thousand lire (in those day it was a lot of money ) and they wanted him to pay it. There was no need to stir trouble since the estate included the small grocery store, the cafe’ and the large sum of money his brothers, Concenzio and Ciccillo had sent from America. This would have satisfied the debt ompletely, but it was not enough for Roberto who, instigated by the two women, went ahead and put a lean on the property then he took him to court demanding that Padre Antonio pay all the expenses for residing there from 1928 to 1930. It was the spark that caused an explosion of discord between the siblings. So unfair since Padre Antonio contributed to the household by doing the best he could helping with the store, the cafe’ and with chores around the house and, for health reasons, ate very little. Plus he had already given Roberto a portion of the money that came from America. Despite it all Roberto, instigated by his wife and mother-in-law,still was not happy and wanted Padre Antonio to pay his share.


Signora Mariannina Valentino testified that Padre Antonio reacted to this with prayers and silent suffering in total desolation. It was the the only way he knew how to react to a mean brother and these two women who would not quit. This did not help his health condition which required calm and serenity.

ROSES FOR JESUS Pages 76-77-78

He confided that the period he lived in Monteforte caused him so much pain only God Knew how much. Very few people understood what Robert put it trough and how difficult it was for him considering his serious health problems and a brain that did not function properly. But in a letter he wrote to one of his brothers he spoke about being more hopeful for he had a better appetite and felt stronger. The family situation still remained a big concern for him.

One day as he was taking a walk with his cousin Gelasio he saw some beautiful wild roses. He stopped and picked a bunch. He set on the ground an removed all the thorns from the roses. At that Gelasio asked him what he was doing, Padre Antonio replied by saying that the roses were for Jesus and the thorns for himself. The message was that to do something worthwhile in the eyes of God one has to suffer.

pages 79-80
These pages are about more suffering that he had to endure in his lifetime.

pages 81 82

pages 83-84-85

On June 14, 1930 he was ordained deacon, thanks to the bishop of Avellino who was very fond of him. This made up for all the suffering Padre Antonio had endured for years. On December 14, 1930 he was ordained priest In the St. Nicolas or Bari’s church. The ceremony was very simple with no reception. People were struck by the simplicity and the seriousness with which he took the vows. A witness heard someone say, ” He looks like a saint!”

His brother Robert did not attend. Supposedly it was because he wanted to throw a big party, but did not have the means to do it so he decided to stay away not to feel ashamed In front of people. His brother Mario felt it was not the case to ruin the most
beautiful day of Antonio’s life with this kind of behavior and asked him to at least kiss his hand as it was customary. Mario knew that one of the reasons for Roberto’s behavior was the family feud from the past At the end when Padre Antonio gently extended his hand, Roberto kissed it.


Add this to the translation. This is incredible the students in the seminary did to him. God Bless. Please pray for a Miracle! It is only through the Power of Prayer that Uncle Vincent will become a Saint!

Pages 79-80


Padre Antonio removed lots of thorns in his lifetime. While removing the thorns from the roses, he surely must have felt the emotional pain they had caused him.

Even more than the physical pain.

The humiliations that he was exposed to during the years he was studying. The cruel mocking and taunting of his schoolmates because of his physical defects. The nonstop name calling such as “terrone” which means “dirt”. (people in the southern part of Italy are called terroni). The professor who used to make fun of him in a very vulgar way in the presence of the entire class because of the clumsy way in which Padre Antonio spoke.

Most of all, he was ridiculed for wearing the old religious habit
which belonged to the founder, Padre Dehon. It was old and faded, but he was not ashamed of it. On the contrary, it made him feel close to the Congregation as though he still belonged to the Institution. He wore it proudly even when he helped his Mother in the grocery store.

Someone was scandalized by it and wanted to report him to bologna with an ultimatum, “Either in or out of the Congregation”. Faithfulness to ideals is bought at a great price. The cruelty
of others, the pettiness, the insensitivity, the lack of human feelings, these are all trials that one finds when trying to follow a vocation.

Did he ever stop pulling out thorns? Maybe not, but he never returned an unkind act with unkindness, always with gentleness, patience and charity. He was cordial and loving with everyone no matter what they did to him. The roses without thorns were the only gift he could give them even to those who offended him.

Despite his brother’s attitude, Antonio kept calm and serene happy that everything was conducted with outmost simplicity.

pages 86-87

One day Roberto got very angry with him and started to make treats. Padre Antonio out of fear ran out of the house, but later on he threw a glass of water at him from the balcony. Luckily he missed the target. Another time Robert tried again and Antonio had
to hide in the neighbor’s house. These acts of violence kept happening over and over again. Cousin Gelasio Palladino testified that Roberto persecuted Antonio In any way possible since their mother’s death when he demanded Antonio to pay for something that he did not owe and falsely accused him of all kinds of things that he was not guilty of. So he tormented him constantly by opening his mail, his valise that was kept locked in the closet and even beat him up.

Letters to Concenzio pages 88-89

We know all this through the letters he wrote to his brother Concenzio who resided in South America. He told his brother that he lived in terror. Even the mentioning of his brother’s name made him tremble. Brother Mario would add that Antonio put up with calumnies and abuse and even hunger in silence.

The next door neighbor shared that one night Antonio ran into her house scared to death. She open the door for him and tried to help him. when Roberto found out he got angry with the neighbor and started cursing calling her all kinds of names. Roberto made his life miserable. A true persecution I But Antonio reacted with heroic patience and offered his trials to God.

pages 90-91

In this chapter an explanation is given as to why Roberto persecuted Antonio so much. Roberto by nature had a very hot temper and often would loose it and go out of control to the point of violence. But after their mother’s death he took it out on Padre Antonio accusing him of steeling and taking advantage of the fact that the rest of the siblings were not present and also because Padre Antonio lived in the same house. Antonio was very good at math and being the honest person that he was figured everything out on paper and showed him that his accusations were fabricated and ,of cause, his wife did not make matters any easer for him. Plus Roberto after purchasing a house in Milano was having a hard time paying the bills. We know this from a letter he wrote to Concenzio in 1930. Nothing but heartaches because of family problems. He prayed to the Blessed Mother to help him endure the pain.


pages 92-93-94

pages 95-96

Brother Mario, having witnessed himself how impossible it was for Padre Antonio to live there, took him to Frosinone (near Rome) where he lived and then spoke to Padre Philippe about it At hearing that, the superior invited him back into the Congregation of the Oblates confessing that he had been wrong in letting him go and now he wanted to make up for it. Needless to say Padre Antonio was overjoyed. It was a cherished dream come true.

pages 97-98

Not everybody was happy to see him come back, but he did not let anyone disturb the happiness he felt to be where he had hoped he would return someday, a place he never really left in the spirit. Instead he got to work right away giving all of himself without
asking for anything in return. He made himself available to everyone. The rank did not interest him at all. lilies did not mean anything to him. Even the last place provided him an opportunity to be a witness to the love of God. The darkest place could be a source of light for Padre Antonio.

page 99

The logic of the gospel teaches him that by loosing it all for The Kingdom of God, we gain the hundredfold.

pages 100-101

And the hundredfold came to him in terms of appreciation from simple faithfuls who saw in him qualities of a real priest dedicated to total service to the community without counting the cost. Nothing was too small for him, he would do whatever was necessary in that present moment: clean, cook, counsel, help someone in need and much more. In essence he found himself in a position where he always wanted to be ; a man of God and a man of the people and the least in terms of importance and rank.

He spent most of his time praying in the small chapel where he could always be found ready and available to whomever needed him. There was an aura of light around him that shone even in the darkness and people knew that they could find him there at
anytime day and night. His fellow priests also knew to tum to him if they needed a substitute in their absence.

pages 102-103

According to the community Padre Antonio covered all their spiritual needs. He was there tor anybody who needed him and that touched many hearts. This goes to demonstrate how a priest could serve God and man at the same time without any titles. His title was “Priest is enough”.

pages 104-105-106

pages 107-108

But this joy was overshadowed by a letter he received from the court of Avellino . His brother Roberto had denounced him for not paying the expenses of room and board when he lived at the house in Monteforte and also for having stolen 500 mila lire. Padre Antonio decided not to show up for health reasons and Roberto got what he wanted. This was 1931.

pages 109-110-111-112

In a letter written to maestro Pasquale {9-1931), Padre Antonio told him he was hoping Roberto. his wife and his mother-in-law would apologize. Then he describes Robert’s character as being restless. short tempered. arrogant. malicious and toxic. All this is true, but how do we reconcile it with Christian gentleness and forgiveness. Padre Antonio felt that he handled this impossible situation in an heroic manner and only God knew how much he suffered . No one else knew because he kept It to himself.

This point was discussed at length during the Process for the Cause of Beatification. Two witnesses came forward in defense of Padre Antonio. his brother Mario and Padre
Michele Ledrus stating that he suffered all kinds of humiliations, accusations, physical and verbal abuse in silence and solitude without betraying his Christian character. The reason for Padre Antonio wanting Roberto, his wife and mother-in-law to apologize was the hope they would convert and realize what they did wrong. Deep down he had already forgiven them despite the agony, the trauma. and especially the citation to appear in court ( worse of all) that made him come to the point of asking for their apologies. More than anything this was a way of bringing Roberto to realize that there were consequences to be paid tor his erroneous behavior.

What Padre Antonio was concerned about was his reputation as priest. He had done so much to reach that point, and now his own brother was throwing mud on his figure as a man of God. And this he could not tolerate. He was well aware of the fact that as priest he was supposed to give a good example as a public figure. He was never concerned about his personal image, but what he represented in the church. A priest has to have an impeccable reputation and a perfect record, in the eyes of God as well as in the eyes of the public. Therefore his record had to be cleared by Roberto ‘s apologies without doubting Padre Antonio’s credibility . He was a holy man. therefore. we have to believe he handled everything in an heroic manner.

Roberto had hoped that his brother would send him money once he became priest, but Antonio gave whatever he received to the poor keeping a small amount for himself.

pages 114-115

pages 117-118

People always knew where to find him. In church of course, he was always available at any time. Day and night. They turned to him with all kinds of problems. A priest is for the people I And he really was. Never refused anybody even when it was inconvenient for him.

When he was not praying he was reading a book on morality and people liked that very much. People never disturbed him. He would say, “A priest is here to be disturbed.” The door to his heart was always open.

pages 119•120

In the confessional Padre Antonio reveals his true nature. His heart is poured out in helping souls and relieve people from the most oppressive sins. The best part of his personality is made available to all who seek counsel and spiritual guidance revealing a splendid soul matured trough a character sorely tested by tribulations. His wisdom is not of this world. is the result of having lived a life of suffering embraced for the love of God and offered for the salvation of souls. His reputation was well known In the Congregation and all those who knew him from• Cristo Re” and looked for him to receive their share of peace and love. Here are some testimonies:


Silvio Corti: To sinners he gave the peace of the lord.
Francesco Favorini: He gave penitents advice to match the needs of the individual. P. Nicola Walzer: He would approach people from all walks of life.
Ester Cartagenova: To help people he would stay late at all hours. People made sure they got him to confess them.
Pina Barilaro: I would come out of the confessional feeling peaceful and serene. Lina Barani: His gentle voice gave me a sense of reassurance.

pages 121-122

Giuseppina Berardi: He understood whomever he confessed. He transmitted in others the beauty of his soul without pretenses. He almost never left the confessional to be available to those who needed him. But I had the distinct impression that he was not understood and appreciated for the type of priest he really was. He was a saint. His words brought healing to those who were suffering deep wounds. You could feel the charity of Christ in his words. He was a spiritual physician who could diagnose the
illnesses of my soul and find the cure for it.
Prof. Giovanni Di Paolo: In the confessional. I felt his heart was open to all those who shared their human miseries and encourage them to abandon themselves to the mercy of God. He had that something extra that once experienced one could not do without. It
was a life changing experience.


Here is another testimony that tops all the others. It is the most beautiful one.
Clelia Artusio says: His voice was as gentle as a caress. He transmitted God’s caress on a suffering humanity without condoning sin. He had the patience to listen without judging, but the courage to admonish in order to pass on the message of Christ and console without rigidity. He was able to reawaken consciences without humiliation. He healed the bruised reed and hugged the broken hearts. It is no surprise that his word felt like a caress considering how much he suffered all his life.

pages 125- 126

He had the gift of discernment. Fruit of constant prayer and humility. He understood people and they new it.

pages 127-128-129

His zeal was very evident in the way he conducted Mass. He took care of all the details to make sure it was done in outmost reverence. He treated God the way He should be treated. With children and the youth he was extremely patient and able to teach them without loosing their respect and the sense of authority.

He loved his altar boys and made sure they behaved. It was not easy for him to keep those Roman rascals with holes in their shoes and ripped clothes in line. He used to fix their shoes and darn their clothes before they went on the altar. He used to teach them catechism. play with them, teach them to sing ,listen to them. not as much as to make them perfect. but to help them mature into strong men and form their consciences. Another witness testifies that Padre Antonio gave everything to the poor including his thermo johns that he needed to keep himself warm in the winter. The poor are to be treated the same way we treat God. With great respect and reverence. All this made
an indelible impression on the youth.

EXPERT IN SUFFERING Pages 130-131-132

One day someone stopped Padre Antonio as he was running down the street on a rainy day to go bring communion to a homebound parishioner. When asked him why he was doing this on a rainy day, he replied, “When it comes to sick people one cannot look at the weather.” In fact at the church of Cristo Re this was very much his mission. He comforted, encouraged them and sometimes he even helped them financially just as he did with an altar boy by paying for his medication. Night and day he was always willing to run if sick people needed him. His kindness and caring will never be forgotten. He was so happy when he could be there until the end and talk to them about the great mercy of God. He was deeply touched by people’s suffering and did his best to make it more bearable. Sick people need comfort.

pages 133• 134

pages 135-136

Padre Antonio’s health collapses. He is working too much and not resting enough. His doctor is very concerned, but Padre Antonio keeps going.

pages 137-138

Padre Antonio ‘s health began to deteriorate very rapidly, but he never complained. No one knew his real conditions because he refused to go see a doctor. When he finally did go see one, Dr. Ernesto Bolaffi de Paoli, he was told to slow down and take care of himself , but he kept going in his ministry despite the migraine that constantly tormented him. Anybody could see he was suffering silently and this was very touching. The poor, the sick, the needy always came first even before his own health and his own life. A few months later he passed away while busy accomplishing the will of God. ministering with the same intensity as if he were in perfect health.

pages 139- 140-141

Here we have a testimony about his last Mass. One of the altar boys testifies that during Mass he seemed very weak and fragile. He almost did not make it and needed help to walk back to his room after he celebrated Mass. He looked so bad and hardly recognizable. But happy that he was able to celebrate his last Mass.

page 142

He died on Wednesday, May 2 , 1934 leaving a streak of light born of the sufferings he bore during his incredible life which can be compared to the “Via Crucis”. All those who knew him ,secretly kept all these things in their heart. The cause of death, according to the doctors, was meningitis.

pages 143- 144. 145

Padre Antonio’s funeral took place on May 5. His sister Lucia . Mario and Roberto were present. Roberto commented that his brother’s death broke his heart. Expression that could be interpreted as a sign of repentance. At the funeral half of the city participated. You could hear people cry and whisper, ” He
was a saint”. Rich and poor showed signs of great admiration for a man who was leaving behind a scent of holiness not of this world. His popularity became so fervent in the parish of Cristo Re that people now await the church to confirm what they already know, “He is a saint”.

146• 147-148 blank


Padre Antonio in appearance was not much to talk about and sometimes. especially young people. would make fun of him. But once they got to know him. they all agreed there was something special about him and nicknamed him • II Santino” ( little saint). And if they could have they would have proclaimed him saint by public opinion.

THE FRENCH WAR Pages 151-152

Inside of him he was secretly conducting a personal French war from which he came out victorious. He was able to overcome his short comings by keeping his eyes fixed on God.

pages 153-154

In these two pages his professors describe him as nervous by nature ,but able to control his natural tendencies by a strong will to do what was pleasing to God and gradually work toward becoming more and more a man of God. It was not easy for him, but because he wanted this more than anything else in the world, he kept trying. This was very obvious from the way he lived. His nervousness was caused by an illness of the nervous system and yet he never showed any outward signs. He was always happy an jovial, kind and gentle and never, never complained. He was able to conceal terrible headaches and no one new it. All for the glory of God!

Nothing came easy to Padre Antonio. Everything in his life was acquired at a great price. About his victories he did not boast and his defeats did not discourage him, but made him try over and over again until he won knowing he had to give an account to God at the end for everything he did, good or bad. This modest priest seemed most victorious even after the worse defeat.


He was known as th9 priest who always kept in the background. To him the most important thing was to be seen by God and be important in His eyes only. He had understood very well that to be valued by God he had to be nothing in the eyes of the world. He was soft spoken and when he walked he tiptoed not to attract attention. He preferred to touch hearts softly rather than be on stage and hear a loud applause. The silence of the confessional was what he look forward to everyday in order to save as many souls as possible.

pages 158-159

Everywhere he went he left a scent of holiness without imposing his believes on others. He just raised people up to his level. To look at Gallo was to see a piece of clear blue sky.

HIS SIMPLICITY Pages 160-161

Padre Antonio did not have brilliant qualities. Everyone knew that He was famous for his simplicity. To be simple one has to strip himself of everything and leave only the truth standing. That was Padre Antonio: real, truthful, faithful and to him nothing else counted. Everything else he considered to be an illusion, a mirage. He preferred not to compete with anybody because he had everything he wanted right there at his finger
tips “God”. He wanted to be himself and shine for God only.

pages 162-163

His all life he did everything in an ordinary way but with extraordinary love. He was a perfect role model. A true Christian! An ideal priest so much needed in today’s world.

pages 164- 165- 166

Padre Antonio lived his vow of poverty to the extreme. He did not own anything. He did have a good quality watch on his wrist and was very proud of it. He would stare at it
very often, until the day he was no longer wearing it. A much less valuable one had
taken its place. Later we found out he had exchanged it with Padre Philippe’s watch because he had become too attached to it During the war, the classroom desks were
In real bad shape. He happened to have a good one so he gave it to one of his friends whose desk was falling apart. He repaired his with pieces of wood he found in the attic. His clothes were all hand me downs that he would alter and darn to fit him better. The
one he wore on his ordination day had been sown by his brothers, Mario and Roberto. In his room he had nothing but a bed, a chair and a table.

HUMBLE ANTONIO Pages 167-168

In the convent they had nicknamed him ‘Humble Antonio” tor his great humility. He had rightly earn that title by giving all kinds of services as needed: porter, barber, cook, tailor, etc. etc.. He never spoke about himself even when others praised him for his knowledge especially in moral theology. He had no ego, the other person always came first and when humiliated he would completely ignore It. He was not vain at all.

pages 169-170

What was extraordinary about him was his outward serenity despite the suffering he endured every day of his life. The contrast between his fragile body and the strong will he demonstrated was evident to all who knew him. Many are the testimonies left on his behalf. They all believed he was able to hide his physical and emotional pain in an heroic manner; he was a real hero without acting like one. In fact he never. never complained, thereby he transformed his weakness into fortitude and maintained an attitude of calm and serenity despite his nervous condition called “Thomsen Disease” which effects the muscles causing constant and excruciating pain.

JOY IN SUFFERING Pages 171-172

Padre Antonio’s doctor testified that because of his disease he suffered terrible headaches. It was very difficult for him to concentrate on his studies, but with determination he was able to persevere until the end. At times when he did not do well in his studies he would get very upset and this would effect his physical and mental health. He overcame his weakness with a strong will and incredible strength and never gave up. His cross was his cross and no one else’s. He never burdened anyone with it. Through his suffering he was able to understand others and console them in a most gentle way using the right words at the right moment to heal their wounds. Yet he remained joyful and serene earning the title of joyful apostle.

pages 173-174-175

Padre Antonio was obedient to the will of God during the hardest trials of his life even when it was obvious that the superiors were manipulating circumstances to get him out of the Congregation. His chronic nervous disease required extensive medical care. therapy, drugs and much more. For this reason the superior chose to release him from the order by dispensing him from his priestly vows. In doing so he was not obligated to pay for the expenses. That was a terrible blow for Antonio who was forced to renounce his vows to obey his superior while convinced that his vocation came from God and He alone would have provided for whatever was necessary to fulfill His design on him. This was confirmed by Msgr. Salvatore Vitale advocate for the Cause of Beatification who strongly believed that his superior acted on his own contrary to the canonical deposition which state that a priest cannot be dismissed for health reasons.

So this passed as being the will of God when in fact it was the will of the superior abusing his authority. Padre Antonio suffered a lot during this ordeal and even more so when he had to again take vows as parish priest. It was not by free choice but out of obedience to God. He believed that God was accomplishing a divine will even through confusing and unjust circumstances caused by unloving people. He only new one verb “To trust”, verb that he manage to put into practice even with tears in his eyes and torment in his soul.

pages 176-177

Padre Antonio’s amazing faithfulness was bought at a great price. Padre Philippe was the only concrete link to the Congregation. However, no financial support came from him not even a little concern for his circumstances where his poor mother had to support him despite her own financial difficulties. Padre Antonio was forced to ask his brothers who lived in the America to help him.

Eventually Padre Philippe realized that he had made a mistake in not recognizing Padre Antonio as a holy man and took him back with opened arms. But not everyone felt the same way ,some still doubted him. This did not deter Padre Antonio who knew he was there to serve and not to be served. He was so happy to be back where he considered to be his real family asking for nothing more than demonstrate his faithfulness to God and to give all that he could give.

pages 178-179

What was his secret? He was in love with Jesus. He would do anything for Him without counting the cost as he showed on a very hot summer day when he went into the garden to pick some beautiful flowers. It was a scorching hot day, but he did not care. The flowers were for Jesus and when you love no sacrifice is too big. Without love the cross does not make sense. He did not love the cross but the one who was on it. He loved Jesus with a passion and for that he suffered all his life.

pages 180-181

His sermons were full of hope. He made paradise so real people would have tears in their eyes and hope In their hearts before leaving church and were more than ever convinced he lived for God and God only. It showed It In the tranquility and serenity he always displayed despite he constant trials. When he talked about the kingdom of God, he sounded as though he already lived there without denying this world. It was clear, God was everything for Padre Antonio.

Pages 182-183

Padre Gabriele Pagliani felt there was nothing superficial about him. He was as deep as Psalm 1-17, 7-8

He had a very intense interior life that he kept secret just like San Francis of Assisi. His Mass could be compared to a Pontifical Mass for its solemnity, but simple in its content . He was a man of encounter with God and with his brothers.

pages 184-185

Antonio Vincenzo is a priest and nothing more. We could add many adjectives to his name , but priest is the only word that best describes him. He was happy being just a simple priest and he demonstrated it with his unique and distinct style that made an impact on all those who knew him. Let’s think of him as priest and nothing more. Not that he does not deserve it, but when we say priest we have said everything.

pages 186-187

There are people who claim to have received extraordinary graces through his intercession and the list grows more and more every year. Those who have prayed to him have not been disappointed. In the Cristo Re parish in Rome there is an extensive documentation available to all those who are interested. In any case, I believe that Padre Antonio has granted a special grace to all. His life is a grace, his priesthood is a gift. His witness is a treasure. His all existence was a miracle. This spiritual wealth is available to all. In his wallet he left two lire and fifty cents, but his spiritual legacy will
live forever and for this I will say “thank you” to this modest priest who demonstrated with his life how God reveals ‘these things” to the simple.

In closing, as a priest, and one who has dedicated several years in learning about the figure of Padre Antonio, I would like to personally thank him for the grace he granted me in realizing that “Priest is Enough!” and he really was an ideal priest.


Padre Antonio reminds me so much of the Cure’ of Ars. I was touched by his humble qualities, spirit of sacrifice and the way he endured suffering of all kinds in an heroic way. His love for God and his spirit of obedience are a much needed inspiration for the times we are living in. A real treasure for your family and spiritual legacy for future generations.

For me it was an examination of conscience. There is so much more that I can do for God, just by following his example. And what better time than “Lent” to translate this book and be inspired by Venerable Padre Antonio Vincenzo Gallo.

Rosa Rotondi
March 2015



The ways of the Lord are different than those of man. In these pages written by Alessandro Pronzato you can see how the author, who wrote several books on the life of this great man, shows us how in the few years that Padre Antonio ministered in the Parish of Christ the King in Rome made the difference among the parishioners who claim to have received many graces. Yet he lived a life bidden from everyone by spending most or his time in the confessional. It was from there that a brilliant light shone emanating a scent of holiness. The rest of the world ignored him.

There are those who claim of having received very special graces, but I would say Padre Antonio granted special graces to everyone and the list grows every year more, but his life is the greatest miracle. His existence is his witness. A rich existence available to everyone.


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