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|Blessed Bartolo Longo|
|Confessor; Apostle of the Rosary|
|Born||February 10, 1841Latiano near Brindisi, Puglia, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies,|
|Died||October 5, 1926 (aged 85), Pompeii, Naples, Campania, Kingdom of Italy|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||October 26, 1980, Rome by Pope John Paul II|
|Major shrine||Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Pompeii, Pompeii, Naples, Italy|
Blessed Bartolo Longo (February 10, 1841 – October 5, 1926) was a Satanist priest who later repented and became a lay Dominican, dedicating his life to the Virgin Mary. He is the father of Maria Longo.
Bartolo Longo was born into a wealthy family on February 10, 1841 in the small town of Latiano, near Brindisi, in southern Italy. His parents were devout Roman Catholics and taught him to pray the Rosary daily.
In 1851 Longo's mother died and he slowly began to drift from his childhood faith. As a young man he attended the University of Naples and became involved with a movement that led him into a Satanist cult. After some study and several "spiritual" experiences Longo was ordained, as a satanic priest.
In the following years, Longo's life became one of depression, nervousness, and confusion. Bothered by diabolical visions and ill health brought on by inordinate fasting, he turned to a hometown friend, Vincenzo Pepe, for guidance. It was Pepe who convinced him to abandon Satanism and introduced him to the Dominican Father Alberto Radente - who heard his confession and guided him further throughout his life.
After a long period of repentance, Longo made his profession as a lay Dominican. He took the name Brother Rosario in honor of the Rosary. The date of his conversion was October 7, 1871.
In 1872, now as Brother Rosario, he began to do good service to make up for his time as a servant of Satan. He went to Pompeii, where he had joined a charitable group, and aided the wealthy widow Countess Mariana di Fusco. He worried, however, that he would still be condemned to hell for his having been a Satanic priest. At the point of despair he was given the grace to internally understand that those who promote the rosary will enjoy God's special blessing. He remembered what Father Alberto had told him - that the Virgin Mary had told Saint Dominic, "he who propagates my Rosary will be saved." It was these words that gave him peace of heart and the inspiration to begin evangelizing people to the Rosary.
He started restoring a dilapidated church in October 1873 and sponsored a festival in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. In 1875, Longo obtained a well worn painting of Our Lady of the Rosary from a convent in Naples and raised funds to get the image restored so as to locate in the church.
Miracles began to be reported and people began flocking in droves to the church. Bartolo Longo was encouraged by the Bishop of Nola to begin the construction of a larger church—the cornerstone being laid on May 8, 1876. The church was consecrated in May 1891 by Cardinal La Valetta (representing Pope Leo XIII). In 1939, the church was enlarged to a basilica, known today as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Pompeii.
At the suggestion of Pope Leo XIII, Bartolo Longo and the Countess Mariana di Fusco were married on April 7, 1885. The chaste couple continued to do many charitable works and provided for orphaned children and the children of prisoners which for its time was revolutionary. In 1906 they donated the entire property of the Pompeii shrine to the Holy See. Longo continued promoting the Rosary until his death on October 5, 1926, at the age of 85. The piazza on which his basilica stands has since been named in memory of Longo.
Bartolo Longo was not without his detractors. He was often accused of administrative misconduct and treated poorly by those in power. He suffered all patiently with trusting confidence in the Providence of God and the prayers of the Virgin Mary.
On October 26, 1980 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II, who would call him the "Apostle of the Rosary" and mentioned him specifically in his encyclical letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary). His beatification is a triumph of God's mercy and the power of the Rosary to instruct the hearts of all in the message of the Gospel of Jesus.
On October 7, 2003 Pope John Paul II prayed for world peace at the Basilica. More than 30,000 people were waiting to greet him as he flew in by helicopter.
- Blessed Bartolo Longo
- The Conversion of Bl. Bartolo Longo
- Pope John Paul II's Pastoral Visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompei, 7 October 2003pt:Bartolo Longo