Saint Anthony Pucci was born in Italy in April of 1818. He was kindly referred to as “the little parish priest,” by his parishioners. He held degrees in theology but his devotion remained with the sick, the poor and the aged. He served with distinction during two major epidemics in his town. He founded a seaside nursing home for children, and is credited with pioneering “Association of the Holy Childhood,” which is a children’s association for the benefit of children throughout the world.
The Association of the Holy Childhood an organization that is perfect for young families, as each child can become members immediately after Baptism, and may continue in membership for the rest of their lives, although as they turn twenty-one they would have to enroll in the Lyons Association for the Propagation of the Faith.
The purpose of the Association is twofold: First, to rally around the Infant Child Jesus from their tender years, so that as they increase in age and strength; along with their imitation of Jesus their Master, they may grow to practice true Christian charity. The second aim is that by the practice of charity and enduring generosity, those same little Christian children may co-operate in saving from death and sin the many thousands of children that live in pagan countries and are neglected by their parents and often cast away to die unbaptized.
Four popes and hundreds of other ecclesiastical dignitaries have approved the association and recommended it to the faithful. Leo XIII, in an encyclical letter, blessed it and recommended it to the bishops, stating “It is my earnest wish that all children of the Catholic world should become members of this beautiful association.” Pope Pius X also regarded it in favor and compared it to an army that could spread out throughout the world.
Members are to recite daily a “Hail Mary” with the addition of “Holy Virgin Mary, pray for us and for the poor pagan children.” Until children are able to recite these prayers by themselves, their relatives should do this for them.
So today as we read about Saint Anthony Pucci and an organization he helped pioneer, let us remember in our daily prayers to pray for the children who are neglected throughout the world, those being raised in pagan households, and for all those who are suffering while outside the embrace of the Holy Mother Church. May we the faithful continue to be diligent in our daily lives to emulate the saints who spread the Light of Christ throughout the darkest of lands.Amen.
There is further information regarding this association at: http://www.newadvent.org