New center in honor of St. Gianna Molla to be established in U.S.
May 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On April 17, several hundred people participated in a special Mass and gala dinner held in Fargo, North Dakota to announce plans to establish the Saint Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life in the United States. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was the principal celebrant of the Mass, together with Bishop John Folda, bishop of Fargo, hosted the inspiring events, which featured St. Gianna's daughter, Gianna Emanuela, as the keynote speaker to officially make the announcement.
Preliminary plans, which have been underway for several years, sought to construct the International Center to Saint Gianna in Ponte Nuovo, Italy. "With much prayer and deliberation, it has become very clear that my mother is greatly revered and loved in the United States," stated Gianna Emanuela. "And the fact that all of the money that has been raised thus far has come from people in the United States, my brother and sister, along with Cardinal Burke and others involved, have decided that the center should be established in the United States," she continued. The center will serve as a pilgrimage site and will consist of grounds with a reconstruction of the home where St. Gianna lived after her marriage and a little chapel situated next to the original home as in Italy.
On Mother's Day in 1994, the Year of the Family, Pope John Paul II beatified Gianna Beretta Molla in the presence of her husband, siblings, and children. He proposed her as a model for all mothers, saying:
A woman of exceptional love, an outstanding wife and mother, she gave witness in her daily life to the demanding values of the Gospel. By holding up this woman as an exemplar of Christian perfection, we would like to extol all those high-spirited mothers of families who give themselves completely to their family, who suffer in giving birth, who are prepared for every labor and every kind of sacrifice, so that the best they have can be given to others.
On May 16, 2004, Saint John Paul II canonized Saint Gianna, whom he referred to as "The Mother of a Family."
"There is clearly great fervor here in the United States for the pro-life, pro-family movement, and Saint Gianna has certainly inspired many in this mission for life," stated Mary Pat Jahner, the organizer of the event and the founder of St. Gianna's Maternity Home in Warsaw, N.D.
During the homily at the Mass, Cardinal Burke highlighted the life and virtues that led St. Gianna to be canonized. At the dinner, he explained more details of the project before Gianna Emanuela gave a presentation on the life of her saint mother before an appeal was made for donations to help complete the project. A committee is currently considering several options of locations of where to establish the center and will be announced at a future time.
To learn more about the project and to donate, go to the National Catholic Community Foundation.
Thomas McKenna is the founder and president of St. Gianna Physicians Guild and serves on the committee founding the Saint Gianna and Pietro Molla Center.