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Cammarata -San Giovanni Gemini

Your next destination in Sicily in the Sicani mountains

A mountain of excellence

Prayer for the glorification of the Servant of God,

don Michele Martorana

O Holy Trinity, only god, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we thank you for the life you have given me, for the faith and baptism that make me your son; with Mary, Mother of the Church, I pray for the salvation of all men and especially of the young, today subjected to so grave and frequent dangers.
So that they are guided in the ways of good, infuse your Spirit in their educators and send priests who, like Don Michele Martorana, consecrate themselves to their salvation.
Glorify this servant of yours too: for his prayers I ask you for grace, if it conforms to your will. . . . . (ask for the desired grace).
Please in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Don Michele Martorana

Apostle of the young

On 22 August 1909 he opened the “Splendor” youth club where he made young people study religion with a three-year course for a clearer knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, morals and liturgy. It stimulated interest and profit with contests, lotteries and sacred theatrical performances. Having gained a profound experience, he tried to open and organize oratories in the Diocese. To this end he organized the Palma di Montechiaro Convention from 3 to 5 July 1914 where he held a documented report, making proposals to found new ones and organize the existing ones. The conference was very successful but the war blocked its realization. To follow and stay close to the young people who had left for the war, he set up a people's secretariat, welcomed refugees and helped orphans. In 1920 he was the animator of the Quisquina Convention which was attended by 200 young people from neighboring countries and there he was the birthplace of the Italian Catholic Action in the Diocese of which he was appointed Diocesan Assistant, placing his headquarters in S. Giovanni Gemini.

Don Michele also devoted himself to economic and social activity to raise the conditions of farmers and fight usury. He was secretary, president and director of the local Cassa Rurale e Artigiana managing to consolidate this Institute so much that he was able to rent the former fiefdom of Ficuzza and buy that of Giardinello to the great advantage of the peasants who endured embezzlement and abuse by the bosses. In the midst of so many commitments he always found the time to write the texts of the catechism of his young people, articles to propagate the idea of oratories in the provincial and national newspapers and even tried the weekly publication "La Via" but death prevented him.

In November 1917 he was appointed Vicar Bursar of the Matrix following the illness and then the death of the Arc. Foreigners: he taught the people how to participate in sacred functions, preached without getting tired, reorganized the catechism, built a magnificent chapel in honor of the patron St. John the Baptist where his mortal remains are now preserved. On December 19, 1921 he wanted to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the priesthood surrounded by numerous friends and personalities from all over the province. He was struck down by an inexorable throat disease, after specialists specially called from Palermo to attempt an operation in vain. Surrounded by the generation of young people he had formed, he passed away on April 22, 1922.

The life

He was born in S. Giovanni Gemini on 19 December 1872 from Santo Martorana and Concetta Di Grigoli. The day after he was baptized in matrix by the Sac Antonino Vicari being "master" godparents Giuseppe Petix and his sister Rosalia. He entered the seminary of Agrigento in 1887, he completed his studies always excelling and committing himself to his human, civil and religious and priestly formation. He was ordained a priest on December 19, 1897 with the imposition of the hands of Mons. G. Blandini. He began his apostolic activity among the young people of S. Giovanni Gemini which he first gathered in his home and then gathered in the sacristy of the Capuchin church of which he had been appointed Rector.

Later, thanks to the involvement of the Arc Forestieri, he obtained the courtyard and some annexed rooms of the Alessi Orphanage which, with the help of the boys, he cleared of stones and rubble and transformed and adapted it to a welcoming and functional gym and lounge. He transferred his activities there which began to take on particular characteristics of human and Christian organization and formation for the young people who flocked there. In July 1901 he inaugurated the “Sacred Heart” Festive Oratory and gave religious and moral lessons there in distinct classes according to age and education criteria but also etiquette, hygiene and the rudiments of arts and crafts.

To combat the dominant illiteracy, he set up a circulating library and evening school courses. He made young people exercise in gymnastics and music by even creating a musical band that lasts to this day.

His funeral was an apotheosis and the young people and the entire population showed all the love they had for their Father and Master. His body was moved from the cemetery to the Matrix on October 19, 1930 and buried in the chapel of St. John the Baptist where a marble monument was erected in perpetual memory. By the will of Bishop Mons. Bommarito, of the late Don Ciccino La Placa and with the collaboration of Mons. De Gregorio in March 1987 the process of beatification, which is still underway, began. Today in the same chapel we find the reliquary that preserves the heart of the Servant of God.

St. John Gemini He venerates the apostle of youth in him

Keep the teachings and values he instilled in young people

He transmits his human and priestly testimony to posterity

He guards with love and gratitude the heart he left to young people as a sign of his love.

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