The saint of AIDS

The fame of his holiness spread quickly among the people. Not only the believers mourned the death of the saint but even the anticlericals. The so called five non-Catholic newspapers of Udine, managed by liberals, anticlericals and Freemasons, recognized the exceptional nature of his role as a priest. Among all of them "The Friuli", notoriously anticlerical, is a proof of it: "It seems impossible - it wrote - but this time the philanthropist is a priest... it is Padre Luigi Scrosoppi, a good minister of god - “g” with small letter - who always served with zeal for the good of his neighbour, and worked towards the establishment of several charitable institutions."

And immediately there began the favours, both of physical and moral healing, attributed to his intercession. The normal process for the approval of his holiness took place from 1932 to 1936. His heroic virtues were officially recognized by Pope Paul VI, on 12 June 1978.

Pope John Paul II solemnly proclaimed him blessed, in St. Peter's Square, on 4 October 1981. The last miracle, officially recognized by the Church, needed for the cause of canonization, was done in favour of Peter Shitima Chungu from Zambia. A student of the Oratory of St. Philip in South Africa, who became ill with peripheral poly-neuritis of the lower limbs wasting syndrome, in short, an AIDS patient in fatal stage. He was sent home in Zambia by the doctors so that he could die at home. The Oratorian community, parishioners and also his family began asking healing for Chungu through the intercession of Blessed Luigi, to whom Chungu was very devoted. One night he dreamt Padre Luigi, who assured him of his recovery. The very next day he began to get up and feel as good as before the illness. Now he is back in South Africa and a priest!

Pope John Paul II officially recognized the holiness of Padre Luigi in a public Consistory (assembly of the cardinals) on 23 March 2001. The solemn canonization took place on 10 June 2001, in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of thousands of faithful from his Friuli and from all over Italy and around the world, where even today, and always his beloved Sisters work with the same zeal for the poor.

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