MY COUSIN THE SAINT
A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

Postulator for the Cause

June 9 Rome D'Ascola a Daniela 026

At the outset of Chapter 1, I describe a scene with two Italian priests rushing off to a private audience with a young Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1978. One of the priests, Msgr. Giuseppe D’Ascola, is picutured here during my interview with him in June 2006 in Rome. For months earlier, D’Ascola declined my entreaties to sit for an interview. He wasn’t interested . Then I asked a cousin of mine in Rome, Daniela Catanoso, to intervene. She contacted the monsignor and refused to take no for an answer. He finally relented and an appointment was set.

To me, it was critical to talk with D’Ascola because as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, he was the Postulator for the Cause of Padre Gaetano’s canonization. In other words, he was in charge of making sure all details were handled on the way to sainthood. The pope’s final approval depended on it.

We ended up talking for two hours (Daniela and Roman interpreter Marta Piermarini, pictured also, were both with me). I learned a great deal about the process, about D’Ascola and about his personal connection to Padre Gaetano. But what he was most eager to share is what became the opening scene to Chapter 1. As we all settled in, D’Ascola spoke up before I could ask a question, saying, “I have something to tell you that has never been written anywhere before. Listen closely. I want to tell you how this all began” — the canonization cause of Padre Gaetano.

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One Response to “Postulator for the Cause”

  1. Molly McGinn Says:

    It was the strangest sensation, to actually read about a conversation taking place between these men. I grew up loving Pope John Paul as a child by reading the comic book illustrations of his life as a boy. His name, Kajol, mystified me. But I always felt very close to this pope.

    Reading this section in the book took me back to that childhood memory.