John Juvenal Ancina

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Blessed John Juvenal Ancina, C.O.
Born (1545-10-19)19 October 1545
Fossano, Duchy of Savoy
Died 30 August 1604(1604-08-30) (aged 58)
Saluzzo, Duchy of Savoy
Honored in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 9 February 1890, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major shrine Cathedral of Saluzzo
Feast 30 August
Patronage Fossano

The Blessed John Juvenal Ancina, C.O., (Italian: Giovanni Giovenale Ancina) (19 October 1545 – 30 August 1604) was an Italian bishop who belonged to the Congregation of the Oratory, as well being a scholar and music composer. He was known also as an orator. He was beatified by the Catholic Church in the late 19th century.

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Ancina was born on 19 October 1545, into a wealthy family of Fossano,[1] in the Duchy of Savoy, now the Province of Cuneo in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. He studied at Montpellier, Padua, Mondavi, and Turin; and graduated with degrees in both medicine and philosophy. Juvenal became an accomplished musician and man of letters. Given his talents, interests and connections, Ancina had a wide variety of career options. Initially he became a physician and then, in 1574, he accompanied his kinsman, Count Mandrucci Ancina, to Rome as the Count's personal physician. There Ancina attended the lectures in theology given by Robert Bellarmine, S.J. He also began to participate in the activities of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri.[2]

Oratorian[edit]

St Philip dissuaded him from joining a religious order, and he entered the Oratory on 1 October 1578, being ordained priest on June 1582.[3] Four years later he was sent to Naples to help in the establishment of an Oratory there. He proved to be effective in reaching the population both through his preaching and his musical talents.[2]

While there Ancina published the Tempio Armonico della Beatissima Vergine, a collection of spiritual songs set to a range of voices. Through his development of cultural activities at the Oratory, he drew the participation of many of the aristocracy of the city. He wrote the Oratorio dei Principi as a guide to the moral issues they faced.[2]

Bishop[edit]

Ancina was called to Rome in 1596 where Pope Clement VIII told him that he wanted to make him bishop of the Diocese of Saluzzo in his homeland of Savoy. Ancina was reluctant to accept this nomination, ironically further enhancing his reputation by his notable preaching in the various places (Loreto, Cingoli, Fermo etc.) which he visited while perpetrating this evasion.[3] Ancina was eventually consecrated a bishop on the following 1 September 1602.[4] He took possession of the diocese on 6 March 1603.[2]

Ancina made a major goal of his episcopate the implementation of the directives of the recent Council of Trent. In line with this he immediately convened a synod where he laid out the methods of reform for both the clergy and the laity. He made arrangements to set a seminary to provide a higher level of knowledge and dedication in the local clergy. He gave a large emphasis to the instruction of the faithful in the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church, for which he introduced the use of the new Catechism drawn up by the Council. He encouraged the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He was admired by the bishop of the neighboring diocese, Francis de Sales, who was later to establish and join an Oratorian community in his own diocese.[2]

Ancina soon died in 1604. It was his zeal which eventually led to his death — he was poisoned by a man whom he had felt obliged to discipline for visiting a convent with less than holy intent. Juvenal knew quite well who his poisoner was, but refused to testify against him, and died on 31 August 1604, aged 59.[3] He was buried in his cathedral, where his tomb is still venerated by the faithful.

Veneration[edit]

On 9 February 1890 Ancina was beatified by Pope Leo XIII. His canonization is still pending. He is honored as the patron saint of Fossano, his hometown. His feast day is celebrated on 30 August.

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