ROME, JAN. 28, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The diocesan phase of the beatification process has opened for Father Umberto Terenzi, who helped revive the Roman Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s vicar for Rome, presided at the opening of the diocesan phase last Friday, held in the Lateran Palace.
“The Virgin always wanted me for herself and, here I am, as parish priest in her shrine,” Father Terenzi once said, recalling his feelings on becoming rector of the Marian shrine in 1930.
The Roman shrine had been a place of devotion since 1740, but had been abandoned because of the surrounding malaria-infested marshlands.
Traits of this parish priest, as described by Cardinal Ruini, were his “unalterable faith in the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church, his unbounded and obedient love of the Pope, the Diocese of Rome, and the bishops, even in times of great suffering and in the ‘dark night’ of incomprehension.”
Umberto Terenzi was born in Rome on Oct. 30, 1900, the 11th of 12 children. He was ordained a priest in 1923. He became prefect of Rome’s major seminary during the early years of his ministry.
From the time of his appointment as rector of the shrine, the future blessed “was dedicated to imitating the Virgin, who became his mother, teacher and mediatrix,” Cardinal Ruini said of Father Terenzi. “He employed all his spiritual, intellectual, moral and physical energies” in the shrine, which flourished, supported in his spiritual growth by Blessed Louis Orione (1872-1940), and by St. John Calabria (1873-1954).
Father Terenzi founded the Congregation of the Daughters of the Virgin of Divine Love and the association of Priest Oblates of the Virgin of Divine Love, who today carry out their work in Asia and South America.
To Father Terenzi is also due the institution of the well-known nocturnal pilgrimage to the shrine every Saturday, from Easter until the end of October.
Cardinal Ruini recalled the last moments of Father Terenzi’s life, who died on Jan. 3, 1974: “He who had been for many years chamberlain of the parish priests of the diocese, weakened by diabetes and the exhaustion of a continuous apostolate, generous and without respite, left the earth serenely to become an intercessor of his work in heaven.”