We thank Don Giuseppe Tomaselli for accompanying us in this month of May to know and love our Mother Mary more through his writings!
Don Giuseppe Tomaselli was born in Biancavilla, a town in the province of Catania, on January 26, 1902 in a deeply Catholic family.
In 1916 he entered the Salesian Congregation founded in 1859 by St. John Bosco, the Apostle of Youth. In 1926 he was ordained priest and began his long ministry which lasted almost 63 years during which he held various positions: parish priest, teacher, chaplain in religious communities, exorcist and apostle of the good Catholic press. He wrote about a hundred simple devotional and apologetic booklets which he printed in millions of copies and which were disseminated in Italy and also abroad. These precious books are still printed and distributed by his spiritual children gathered in the Salesian Charitable Work of Messina.
During his life, he worked with great ardor for the salvation of souls, for whom Jesus Christ sacrificed his life on the cross of Golgotha. Don Giuseppe Tomaselli was always available to help others both materially and spiritually. If he was called in the middle of the night to administer the last sacraments to a dying man, he rushed forward, aware of the fact that Jesus Christ ardently desires the salvation of every single soul. The zeal for the sanctification and the salvation of souls has always been a characteristic aspect of the priestly life of Don Giuseppe.
As an authentic Salesian, he was most devoted to Our Lady. His joy was enormous when on November 1, 1950, the great Pope Pius XII (at the time Eugenio Pacelli) decreed in a solemn and definitive manner, a divinely revealed dogma that the Blessed Virgin Mary at the end of earthly life was assumed in the glory of paradise in both soul and body.
Among his favorite readings were among others the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Sister Josefa Menendez, St. Thomas Aquinas and of course St. John Bosco. Even in the last years of his life, he always wore the cassock, giving a good example to his brethren.
He did not like the mushy discourses that anesthetize souls, but he vigorously denounced the lies of the world. I quote a short passage taken from the book “I nostri morti – La casa di tutti” (“Our dead – the house of everybody”) published in 1953, in which he tells of one of his visits to the cemetery: “The avenue is long; on the right and on the left, there are tombs, but there are many and it is not possible to consider them all. There is one that took my attention and forces me to stop. … The sepulcher is sumptuous, surmounted by half-bodied statue; with flowers around and a lighted lamp; the emblems of the theological virtues are artistic: the cross, the anchor, the torch; the inscription of tomb reads as such: “Chosen mind – Noble heart – benefited the others, forgetful of himself – wife and children mourn hi passing away”. Lies! Lies! The world is a mass of lies! In the Cemetery, however, lies reign sovereign: All the dead are assumed honest and charitable. It seems that death chooses only the good! I know this man … on which is written “with a chosen mind and a noble heart!” I remember what was said about his death: He would have done better if he died fifty years earlier! … How many fathers of families have you caused to cry in desperation! … How many workers have you sucked their blood! … How many arrogance and harassment have you done! … Before expiring a sudden death, instead of calling God, you said to your servant: Please give the key to the safe to my female daughter! – And then he ceased to live. His funeral procession was of the best: garlands without number and long lines of automobiles. Now you’re here, noble sir, eaten by worms! You have tricked the world, but certainly not God. You would have done better to be more charitable. The accumulated riches are no longer yours. How many field and land property did you own! Now you just need a few palms of earth! O unhappy are the rich! You are envied by the worldly, but Jesus has said a terrible “Woe” against you: Woe to you, O rich! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, rather than a rich man to enter Paradise! »
He was very sought after as a confessor, he knew how to help the penitents to honestly confess even the most shameful sins. He was also a worthy spiritual director of many faithful, including various mystical souls. There were many who turned to him, even just to have a word of comfort in difficult times. No one felt rejected, not even those who have the disease of scruples, who despite suffering terribly, are not always treated with love by others.
When he died in Messina on the night between 8 and 9 May 1989 and many cried for him, they knew that he died as an extraordinary priest, a heroic Catholic priest who loved God with all his heart and neighbor as himself.
Source and Translated from: