A message from our Provincial Director Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., on the Feast of the Epiphany

We often tell the story of our founder, St. Gaspar del Bufalo, that he was born on the Feast of the Epiphany in Rome on January 6, 1786. That’s how he got his name, Gaspar Melchior Balthazar―he was named after the magi.

What is not often mentioned in brief accounts of St. Gaspar’s life is that he had a brother, Luigi, his only sibling. Gaspar was the younger of the two sons of Antonio and Annunziata del Bufalo.

We know some details about St. Gaspar’s early life: he had an eye infection that could have left him blind, and his mother prayed fervently for the intercession of St. Francis Xavier, to cure him. Gaspar grew up in the servants’ quarters of a palace, the Palazzo Altieri, where his father was a cook.

What was the relationship between him and his brother, Antonio? Between Gaspar and his father? We know he was close to his mother. All of them, father, mother and brother, would have had an influence over the way Gaspar grew up. Our family forms us. It is, as described in Lumen Gentium, “the first church.”

Fr. Ron Will, C.PP.S., spoke of the importance of family in our faith life in a recent homily. “Practicing how to love starts in our family circles,” he said. “It’s in our families where we can best learn relational skills of caring, sharing, listening and love. In the family, we’re able to practice those skills that we then use in other circles of our lives. . . Family life filled with day-to-day moments where we can help each other become better followers of Jesus.”

On this birthday of our founder, let us thank God not only for this saint who still guides us, but also for his family, and ours. May every family be a place of comfort, support and inspiration, a foundation for all children to grow in holiness and in the confidence that they are beloved children of God.

Missionaries of the Precious Blood