Pope wishes Jesuit Fr Sabino Maffeo a happy 100th birthday
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Pope Francis has penned a letter to Jesuit Father Sabino Maffeo on the occasion of his 100th birthday, which falls on Tuesday.
“The good news has reached me that on November 1, the Solemnity of All Saints, you will be 100 years old,” Pope Francis said.
The Pope also highlighted that on this very day 85 years ago, Fr. Maffeo entered the Society of Jesus.
Joy and celebration
The Holy Father expressed his great joy and his experience of spiritual consolation to be able to join the celebration of the centenary commemoration, giving thanks to God who called Fr. Maffeo “to the wonderful adventure of life, which will never end, and to the vocation of being a companion of Jesus, to love and serve in everything.”
He added that those who know the Jesuit priest can testify that he has lived, in the words of St. Ignatius, as a “faithful instrument in the hands of God, with great joy, charity, and spirit of service.”
A long life of service
During the long years of his life, Fr. Maffeo took on missions of great responsibility, with some especially connected to the Holy See, the Pope pointed out.
After serving as the Provincial of the Roman Province of the Society of Jesus (1968 – 1973), he was assigned the post of Technical Director at Vatican Radio (1973 – 1985). Following that, he received another mission in the service of the Holy See, working in Castel Gandolfo at the Vatican Specola, first as an assistant to the Director, and later as a historian and archivist (1985–2017).
Praying for the Church and Society of Jesus
Currently, Fr. Maffeo lives at the St. Peter Canisius Residence, a Jesuit community that also serves as an infirmary for aging and sick Jesuits.
Pope Francis noted that Fr. Maffeo, while living in the community, has been entrusted with a mission to “pray for the Church and Society.” The Pope urged Fr. Maffeo to also pray for him because he believes in the power of prayer, which, St. Augustine says, “is the power of man and the weakness of God.”
“With cordial joy, I join in your thanksgiving for the great things the Almighty has done for you in this centenary of your life,” said the Pope.
Pope Francis concluded his letter by invoking God’s blessing upon Fr. Maffeo, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church.