MY COUSIN THE SAINT
A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

Posts Tagged ‘St. Gaetano Catanoso’

Catholics among Mormons

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Relatively speaking, I suspect there are not many Catholics among the many Mormons in Salt Lake City, Utah, but Deacon Scott Dodge at St. Mary Magdalene is among them. And a close reader of My Cousin the Saint, as this blog post illustrates.

Happy birthday, Gaetano

Saturday, February 14th, 2009


Today is best remembered as romantic holiday named for St. Valentine, a Roman martyr who lived a few hundred years after Christ and about whom very little is known (except that he died on Feb. 14). I prefer to remember this as the birthday of a saint — St. Gaetano Catanoso, born Feb. 14, 1879 in the village of Chorio in southern Italy. Happy birthday, Gaetano. (The video here was shot in Calabria last March by Michael Frierson, a film professor at UNC-Greensboro)

Festivals in Calabria

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

When traveling in Calabria (and let’s face it, you really should start making plans!) it’s important to know there is a festival for every season. Cherrye Moore, at My Bella Vita, makes it easy for you to keep up and plan where to go next.

Doctors and prayer

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Dr. Bolignano
In June 2006, I interviewed a most extraordinary doctor, Giuseppe Bolignano (above), a virologist at the metro hospital in Reggio Calabria. A few years earlier, he had given up on a patient who seemed to have been defeated by an awful case of meningitis. He advised the family to pull the plug. Instead, they prayed overtime to Padre Gaetano Catanoso. When this patient arose from her coma, her inexplicable recovery was later deemed by the Vatican, and Pope John Paul II, as a miracle — the miracle which led to Padre Gaetano’s canonization on October 23, 2005.

During my interview with Dr. Bolignano, I asked him about the line between science and religion, between the cold facts of biology and the mystical nature of the supernatural. His response: “There is a line that is incredible and unexplainable, and when you cross it, there is nothing else left but faith.” Bolignano’s faith is strong, even for an accomplished scientist. While his colleagues at the hospital are skeptical, he is not. He believed he witnessed a miracle.

This story came to mind when I heard about this survey, which reports that fewer doctors believe in the importance of every day prayer.

St. Gabriel’s in Charlotte

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

I will be speaking at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Charlotte on Wednesday night, November 12, at 6:30 p.m. The church is at 3016 Providence Road. Details are here. My topic? My cousin the saint, and how he came to be canonized.

Update:My sincere thanks to Susan Krasniewski and Father Frank at St. Gabriel for hosting me tonight. They both did a sensational job of organizing and promoting my talk and we certainly had a wonderful turnout. It was great to meet so many people afterwards. A special thanks to the Italian-American woman who traveled to Charlotte from Shelby who bought eight books and gave me to two delicious homemade meatball sandwiches!

Travel tip: Reggio, a Southern Italy destination

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

I was invited to offer a guest travel post today at www.amoretravelguides.com. My short feature on Reggio di Calabria is here.

Tampa Tribune — Saints: Miracle workers

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Before the Tampa Bay area went nuts last night reveling in the success of the once-lowly Rays and their improbable journey to the World Series, Tampa Tribune religion writer Michelle Bearden offered a story in the Sunday paper about the power of saints in modern society. The story is here. Me and my cousin enter the story near the end.

For the record, I’m a Phillies fan, and have been since I was a Little Leaguer in Wildwood, NJ, going to the Vet with my pre-teen pals to see Steve Carlton pitch for a team that lost 100 games. If the Phillies win this series – their first since 1980 and second in franchise history — it won’t be a miracle. This team is really good!

Virtual book tour

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

I’ve had the great pleasure since My Cousin the Saint was released on May 20 to travel around North Carolina and even to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to meet with groups and share my stories. Beginning  next week, with the help of my advocates at RLF Communications in Greensboro, N.C., I’ll embark on something of a virtual book tour by posting on a variety of blogs focused on topics related to my book:

Please check out these sites on these days:

Oct. 7 — Bleeding Espresso: www.bleedingespresso.comMy Bella Vita

Oct. 8 — My Bella Vita: www.my-bella-vita.com

Oct. 13 — Amore Travel Guides: www.amoretravelguides.com

Oct. 14 – Italyville: www.italyville.blogspot.com

Oct. 16 — Catholic Dads: www.catholic-dads.blogspot.com

Holy relic

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

relic in chorio
This relic can be seen in the church St. Pasquale of Baylon in Chorio, a little village in southern Calabria where St. Gaetano Catanoso was born — as well as my grandfather. The relic is actually a thin piece of skin from the saint. Catholics, of course, believe relics are holy objects, closely associated with the sacred departed, that maintain mystical and sometime miraculous powers when prayed over.

Please see the video at the Multimedia button called Sacred Relics for more details.

Christopher Closeup on Sirius

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

On Sunday, September 21, my interview as part of the Christopher Closeup on Sirius satellite radio’s The Catholic Channel (159) will air at 7 a.m. and again at 7:30 p.m., Eastern time. Tony Rossi conducted the interview and we had an enjoyable discussion about My Cousin the Saint.

The interview will be available as a free podcast on this web site on Monday: www.christophers.org/closeuppodcast.