The Tablet, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn, reviews “My Cousin the Saint.”
An excerpt, from reviewer Nancy Hartnagel, wire editor of the Catholic News Service:
“The wonderful Padre Catanoso evoked in these pages was born on St. Valentine’s Day in 1879. Ordained a priest for the Diocese of Reggio Calabria in 1902, he served as a parish priest in a mountain village and as a pastor, chaplain and seminary spiritual director in a coastal town. His compassionate ministry, including shelters and orphanages, was prompted by the grinding poverty of the region and a devastating 1908 earthquake…
“Padre Catanoso did not see himself as a saint, but as “one of the Lord’s little donkeys.” In a telling anecdote, the author recalls that, when the priest had the chance during a private audience to ask Pope Pius XII to approve the new religious congregation, he forgot to do it and could only laugh at himself afterward.
“Catanoso also does a nice job with the saga of his grandfather, Carmelo, born in 1887 in the same village as Padre Catanoso. Carmelo and his wife, a Sicilian immigrant, settled in Wildwood, N.J., where they ran a grocery store and raised nine children. This part of the story, like many immigrant tales, is full of hard work and success, reunions at the family’s campground in Avalon, and the dreams and sorrows of succeeding generations.
“An especially touching chapter of the American Catanosos’ story is the death of the author’s brother, Alan, from brain cancer, not long before Padre Catanoso’s canonization. The author says his mother, Connie, ‘would pray to Gaetano with all the hope and conviction her long and unquestioned Catholic faith could sustain.’ “