Venerable Fr. Ambrose Grittani
Fr. Ambrose Grittani found his happiness in answering God’s call as a priest. Born in Ceglie del Campo (Bari) - Italy on October 11 1907, Fr. Ambrose Grittani was inspired in his feelings of deep love for God and for the neighbour. His purpose in life was to serve God, love Him and live for Him through humanity around him, especially the poor and the abandoned. He once said, “when I realised that the society is divided into two classes: the strong and the weak, the happy and the unhappy, the rich and the poor, I decided to devote my life to feed the poor, comfort the unhappy and support the weak”.
Fr. Ambrose Grittani was a courageous man. He had no fear loving others, sharing and caring for them; that was why he dedicated all his pastoral ministry in the service of the poor. He believed that it is good to bring joy to the lives of people. It is a beautiful thing when you uplift another. It is certain that a meaningful life is made up of a series of daily acts of decency and kindness which add up to something truly great over the course of a lifetime. Following the example of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, Fr. Ambrose Grittani felt the need to welcome these beggars, thus, transforming that act of kindness to LOVE. He said, "My love for you is not compassion but fraternal understanding, and for you I do not formulate words of comfort but I offer my life, my work to give you a house worthy of you, a heart that loves you, a food that comforts you and the peace of an old woman crowned with sweet memories ".
On the 23rd October 1941, Fr. Ambrose Grittani founded the Opera, to enable him to attend to the need of the time. Because of the war and the social disagreement, there was a host of miserable beggars who stretched their hands, showing their deformities and trying to wrest a feeling of compassion and a coin from the people near the Church. When the Church closes its doors they go around in the most visible places, where people would at least show them little kindness and give them alms. For these discomforts of the poor, the Opera Fr. Ambrose Grittani wanted the doors of Charity to open wide to welcome all the needy. He was like a voice that shouts in the conscience of men imploring mercy and charity for the helpless. He used every means available in his time (during the 1st World war) to communicate his torment to many rich people, too many old people who lived in their quiet, revered and served palaces to come to the assistance of the people who sleep on the ground. He took it as a mission to call on everyone and preached about their responsibilities before God and humanity. To him, it was the responsibility of everyone to help the poor and the abandoned... From the politician who has the duty to make common money services for the common good, to the woman who thinks of building a marble tomb or to raise a bell that will not call anyone, because human hearts are insensitive without charity.
As Christians, our duty is to be compassionate to the abandoned and the beggars, to shelter the homeless relief them of their sufferings. Every Christian must act in such a way that the love of Jesus Christ may radiate and transform into action.