WESTERLY— On October 15, Father Giacomo Capoverdi, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, traveled with 28 of his parishioners to the Vatican, where he served as one of the concelebrants during a Mass in which Pope Francis canonized Saint Angelo d’Acri before a crowd of about 35,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
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Two weeks later, on October 30, the Immaculate Conception community marked the first Feast day for Blessed Angelo d’Acri as a saint.
For Saint Angelo’s first feast day as a saint, Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans served as principal celebrant during a Mass at Immaculate Conception Church, which was followed by a beautiful procession around the church’s interior and a large family-style Italian dinner in the parish hall.
Bishop Evans delivered a moving homily during the Mass, emphasizing the importance of humbling oneself before God in true Saint Angelo style. He invited the parishioners to understand and acknowledge, as St. Angelo did, that we are powerless without God’s grace, but that with it, He will use our individual strengths and even weaknesses to serve His Church and ministry.
He spoke of how at St. Angelo’s weakest moments, he surrendered himself and prayed: “My God, I can’t take it anymore. You know my weakness, rescue me through your Grace.”
In honoring Saint Angelo, Bishop Evans encouraged all to see in this devoted servant of God “a profound devotion to that simplicity, that innocence, that charity that so characterized the life of the founder of his religious order, St. Francis of Assisi.” He reminded those gathered that “even in our own limited way, when we think we are weak, or the world has overwhelmed us, [we should] turn to the Lord, because human efforts will not get us through; we need divine and spiritual help.”
Saint Angelo of Acri has been a staple icon to the faithful Italian community of Westerly for years. Father Capoverdi has nurtured and perpetuated the parish’s devotion to the Saint in his time as pastor of the church.
In 2012, he arranged a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the saint in Acri, Italy, where he and his parishioners visited the monastery of the Capuchin Friars and attended Holy Mass in the Immaculate Conception Basilica. The Basilica displays a beautiful life-size statue of Saint Angelo. While in Acri, Father Capoverdi commissioned the artist who crafted the statue to create an exact replica, one which would later be gifted to Immaculate Conception parish in Westerly by the provincial minister of the Capuchin Friars, Padre Pietro Ammendola.