|1. Fr Alexandre Paciolli, LC, born on December 12, asked Mary to be his personal patron.|
October 27, 2009. When Fr Alexandre Paciolli, LC, was ordained
to the priesthood, he found himself at a point of
joy mixed with deep sorrow. It seemed then that his
most heartfelt prayer to Our Lady had been left unanswered.
But time would prove him wrong… and twice blessed.
in the Brazilian Navy
Fr Alexandre Paciolli, LC, was born in
Fortaleza, Brazil on December 12, 1968. He was a mischievous
child, always playing pranks and getting into trouble. But one
day, he decided it was time to get his act
together and start fresh. He began studying and passed a
difficult exam to get into a military school. At the
age of 10, he was accepted into the school.
began to understand what discipline was all about, and I
behaved better,” he said. After four years, he decided he
wanted to be a military officer.
Several years later,
he was a helicopter pilot for the Brazilian Navy. His
first year of Naval Academy was very difficult, but he
found solace and strength in the chapel. In those quiet
times of prayer, he began to grow in love for
Christ in the Eucharist. One day, he met a Legionary
priest, and was impressed by his joy and fervor while
celebrating Mass. After a period of running away from the
vocation, he finally decided to take the step. His parents
were not in agreement with his decision at that time.
“She is my patron too!”
When he got to
the seminary in Rome for the first time, he was
struck by a beautiful image of Our Lady in the
chapel. He had never seen such an image before.
“What image and title of Mary is this?” he
asked the priest who was with him.
is Our Lady of Guadalupe, the “dark Virgin” of Mexico.
We celebrate her feast day on December 12,” he answered.
|Father Alexandre entered the Naval military academy of Brazil at fifteen years of age. Here he is with his dad.|
He was amazed. “I was born on December 12!”
he exclaimed. “So she is my patron too!” From that
moment on, he welcomed her into his life as his
Mother and protector. He also turned to her in fervent,
daily prayer for his parents, asking for them to understand
his vocation one day, and for them to be present
at his ordination to the priesthood.
years, his mother accepted her son’s vocation. But one day,
he also received devastating news: his mother was gravely ill
with an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer, and it
was highly unlikely that she would make it to his
priestly ordination, which was to be in 5 years.
Upon receiving this news, Br Paciolli went to the
chapel and cried, asking Our Lady of Guadalupe for one
favor: “You can gain everything from your Son,” he prayed.
“If it is God’s will, please allow me to celebrate
one Mass for my mother. That is all I ask!”
Much to the amazement of the doctors, his
mother’s cancer had become controlled, and her health improved. Full
of gratitude toward Our Lady, Br Paciollio continued praying for
“just one Mass.” He had only a few years left
until ordination, and he was praying for her every day.
But just one year before his ordination date, his
mother’s health began deteriorating again. He kept praying, his heart
full of hope that Our Lady would grant him this
one wish for which he had prayed so long.
“Am I not here, who am your mother?”
was late December of the year 2000, and his ordination
was just around the corner. Just before he began his
8-day spiritual exercises, his father called him and told him
that his mother would not be able to attend his
ordination. The cancer had returned with a vengeance, and she
was not able to move because the pain was so
He entered spiritual exercises with a heavy
heart, and on ordination day on January 2, 2001, he
received the sacrament with a mixture of joy and sorrow.
His father was there, but his mother’s absence filled him
with sadness. For so many years, he had dreamed of
being ordained with her present, and of giving her holy
Communion with his own hands.
At one point
during the ordination ceremony, he turned around and realized that
he was standing right in front of a large image
of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been set up
for the ordinations. As he looked at her, his heart
filled with peace, and he thought, “My earthly mother is
not here, but my heavenly Mother is with me.” Deep
in his heart, he heard a voice that he had
never heard before, saying, “Am I not here, who am
On that day, God touched his father’s
heart as well, and for the first time, he accepted
his son’s priestly vocation—another act of kindness from the Blessed
Virgin. But just after the ordination ceremony, his father gave
him the sad news: his mother was on her deathbed.
With his superior’s permission, Fr Paciolli immediately left for Brazil
with his father.
The first and last Mass
When they got to the house, he found her
very weak, her body consumed by the sickness. She was
like Christ crucified on her bed of pain, completely unable
Then, for a reason that Fr
Paciolli himself cannot explain, he was inspired to say to
her with an inexplicable authority that he felt did not
come from him: “In God’s name, I order you to
get up!” To the shock of his relatives, his mother
rose from the bed and embraced him, and told the
family that she wanted to get dressed and ready to
go to her son’s first Mass.
went together to St Vincent de Paul parish for the
first Mass that Fr Alexandre Paciolli would ever celebrate in
his hometown. At the moment of the consecration as he
lifted the Body of Christ in the host, Fr Paciolli
heard deep in his heart, “Your mother’s sickness has been
for the Father’s glory, but now it is time for
her to rest in me.”
He gave her
Holy Communion. Afterwards, she knelt with great difficulty to give
thanks for the Body of Christ, and then closed her
eyes and lost consciousness. She died shortly after.
Pilgrim Queen begins her travels
Afterwards, Fr Alexandre Paciolli, LC, was
assigned to work in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Because of his love for Our Lady, he was looking
for a way to spread Marian devotion among the Brazilian
people. He began speaking about Mary on a radio program
and distributing little holy cards of Our Lady to anyone
who was interested. The radio program and the holy cards
became quite successful. Afterwards, he had the idea of giving
away triptych images of Our Lady, so several were made
in different sizes.
A few years later, he was asked
to give the Marian outreach to a group of women
in Monterrey, Mexico so that they could develop it into
an apostolate that could be easily replicated in other cities
around the world. Before too long, the concept of Pilgrim
Queen of the Family was born as a way of
linking 10 families to pray the Rosary in the presence
of a traveling triptych image of Our Lady. Each of
the 10 families receives her image for 3 days, and
during her stay in their homes, they pray the Rosary
together and honor her in a special way.
In the past
five years since its foundation, the apostolate has spread all
over the world, reaching thousands of families on all five
continents, in countries as diverse as China, Cameroon, and the
United Arab Emirates. As a pilgrim, a mother, and a
queen, she continues touching hearts with the same words she
once spoke to St Juan Diego so many years ago:
“Am I not here, who am your mother?”