Father, priest, father of priests, centenarian, author, disciple of Padre Pio, Veteran of World War II … Perhaps we could think of Fr. Probo Vaccarini as a sort of spiritual Forrest Gump: someone who has received all 7 sacraments—some from his own children—and conferred most of them as well, and who has seen some of the most significant events and personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries first-hand.
He turned 100 years old on June 4, and he celebrated the occasion by concelebrating a Mass presided over by Bishop Francesco Labiasi, of Rimini, Italy (the diocese where Fr. Vaccarini ministers), and with his four sons who are also priests. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Vatican, sent a message relaying a message of congratulations and a papal blessing from Pope Francis, read aloud during the Eucharistic celebration.
Vaccarini was born in Italy in 1919. Like many young men of his generation, he was sent to fight in World War II, serving in a campaign in Russia; unlike many, he lived to return to his home and start a career. One day, he ran into a friend and fellow war veteran, who was “handsome and had everything” but was “always sad … always distressed,” he recounts in an interview on Italian Catholic television station
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