Patron of the Holy Name SocietyBlessed John of Vercelli (c. 1205-1283)
Feast Day: December 1
John Garbella, was born near Vercelli in northwest Italy in the early 13th century. Little is known of his early life. He entered the Dominican Order in the 1240s and served in various leadership capacities over the years. Elected sixth master general of the Dominicans in 1264, he served for almost two decades.
Known for his tireless energy and his commitment to simplicity, John made personal visits—typically on foot—to almost all the Dominican houses, urging his fellow friars to strictly observe the rules and constitutions of the Order. He was tapped by two popes for special tasks. Pope Gregory X enlisted the help of John and his fellow Dominicans in helping to pacify the States of Italy that were quarreling with one another. John was also called upon to draw up a framework for the Second Council of Lyons in 1274. It was at that council that he met Jerome of Ascoli (the man who would later become Pope Nicholas IV), then serving as minister general of the Franciscans. Some time later the two men were sent by Rome to mediate a dispute involving King Philip III of France. Once again, John was able to draw on his negotiating and peacemaking skills.
Following the Second Council of Lyons, Pope Gregory selected the Dominicans to spread devotion to the name of Jesus. John took the task to heart, requiring that every Dominican church contain an altar of the Holy Name; groups were also formed to combat blasphemy and profanity.
Even though the Confraternity of the most Holy Names of God and Jesus was not canonically recognized until the 1500’s, Blessed John’s effort to promote devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus throughout the entire Church make him the patron of the Confraternity of the most Holy Names of God and Jesus.
Blessed John of Vercelli Prayer
God our Father, You raised Blessed John of Vercelli to leadership in Your church and made him an apostle of the Holy Name of Jesus, Your divine Son. We ask of you, through the intercession of Blessed John, a renewal of devotion to Your son among ourselves and our fellow men. May all men come to know, to love and to reverence the most Holy Name of Jesus -- "So that at Jesus' name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD." Amen.
Blessed John of Vercelli by Rev. Paul Perotta, O.P.- Book by NAHNS
A series of articles written by the Very Reverend Paul Perrotta, O.P. on Fr. John Garbella O.P., a saintly and scholarly man, the Sixth Master General of the Dominican Order, were orriginally published in the Holy Name Journal. These articles were rewritten in treatise form, and published in a book by the National Association of the Holy Name Society in 1956 with the hope that Blessed John will become even better known.
A copy of this book is provided here: Blessed John of Vercelli; By Paul C. Perrotta, O.P., Ph.D.
Canonization of Blessed John Committee
Carroll Pupa, Chair
T. Paul DiVito, Historian
Edward Redding, Communications
Blessed John of Vercelli. Pray for us!