On this the 90th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Padre Domenico da Cese on October 11, 1931 at the Cathedral of Sulmona, Italy. Lorenzo Petracca, the great nephew of Padre Domenico has written a beautiful testimony of his great sufferings and sacrifices for the sanctity of the priesthood and the attacks by the devil.
On a recent trip to the tomb of Padre Domenico in Cese, on September 18, 2021; I, Tamara Klapatch can personally give witness to the fact that those who follow the devil have not ceased on their attacks to this humble priest. They continue to write obscene/ cultish messages or their destruction of holy images within the crypt.
I would also like to thank especially Lorenzo Petracca for taking the time to write this testimony and for his exceptional devotion to his family; also to his father, Giovanni Petracca who is so incredibly humble and who had a special bond with his Uncle Padre Domenico, in the below photograph he is pictured in front of Padre Domenico.
All of us have a guardian angel who enlightens and guards us and we should always keep this in mind even if at times it may seem difficult to believe that they really exist. A particular episode, concerning this topic, is when a seminarian went to confession and Padre Pio asked him, "Do you believe in your guardian angel?". The seminarian, manifesting his skepticism, considered certain things a bit childish and then Padre Pio gave him two slaps saying, "Look well, It's there, It's there. It's there and It's beautiful!". The seminarian turning around saw nothing but Padre Pio's eyes were so bright that they reflected the light of his angel. Padre Pio was not the only one who had a special relationship with the angels, Padre Domenico also had a lively relationship with them. Some of his spiritual children said to have heard him speak during the night with the Lord's angels and Padre Domenico himself, when people asked about bilocation, he justified himself as, "It is my guardian angel who takes my appearance to encourage souls who have need and he prevented them from falling into sin.
The angels were therefore very much existing in the life of Padre Domenico, but they were not the only ones, the Lord Jesus had entrusted him to the custody of an Archangel, St. Michael! This happened when Padre Domenico offered himself as a victim to the merciful love of Jesus to be the help to the weak priests before the temptation of purity, asking for the martyrdom of body and spirit. He knew what it meant when priests did not allow themselves to be sanctified; therefore, he wanted to pray in particular for them and offer every possible sacrifice for their sanctification. He also had the very clear principle that only holy priests can do God's will and guide people, with this vow of victim, Jesus did not leave Padre Domenico alone, He sent the Archangel St. Michael to help him to suffer the temptations of the devil.
God does not send his angels, including St. Michael, for fun nor for pleasure so that a person can be proud of having them with him, but rather directs his angels to human beings with a concrete mission; that is, with the task of doing a good (again and even larger) deed. In this case the "mission" was to enable Padre Domenico to resist the clashes with the devil, battles that began when one night (at midnight) Padre Domenico found himself thrown to the ground. The devil, with a woman's form, gave him a heavy blow on the forehead on the right side, Padre Domenico lost consciousness and woke up only the following morning finding himself on the ground with a large hematoma on his forehead, a scar that will then mark him throughout his life. (In some photos that circulate on Padre Domenico it is possible to see the wound that the devil had inflicted on him, you have to look carefully on the right side of the forehead, a little up.) The greatest pains, the humble Capuchin suffered during the night. A tremor, a sudden chill or a big spider that appeared on his face; these were the means that the devil used to wake him up suddenly, to remove sleep to make it so that all the day Padre Domenico was without strength, this was the intent of the devil. The night of hell began when the devil, once awakened him, immediately clung to Padre Domenico, engaging in atrocious fights that lasted for a long time. When Padre Domenico invoked Jesus to be freed, Saint Michael the Archangel immediately intervened by driving out satan, giving a great help to Padre Domenico, thus resulting in a safe haven for him to turn to in times of difficulty. Even during confessions, Padre Domenico often looked at the Archangel who suggested what to say to comfort sinners, but sometimes St. Michael was silent and in that case the Capuchin just gave the blessing.
During the night and during confessions, these were not the only moments in which St. Michael rushed to give a hand to Padre Domenico. This last, in fact was an exorcist priest and when he was able to help some possessed person, the devil immediately went to him as it clung to his ribs to take revenge for the wrong it had suffered. The revenges were sudden and unexpected, sometimes he tried to make Padre Domenico skid with the car, at other times it hit him so hard or simply tried to scare him by showing himself in horrible features, but Padre Domenico had the Archangel St. Michael who defended him. He would never allow the evil one to have the last word on him. After all, let's not forget that it was St. Michael, with the shout, "Who is like God?", to drive out satan and all the evil spirits into hell. The Archangel is a warrior of the Heavenly King and wishes to help everyone, so that everyone may reach eternal happiness.
Now, as Padre Domenico recited during the rosary, I give you this prayer that he said:
"Oh St. Michael the Archangel
Defend us in the fight,
come to our aid against the enmity and snares of the devil.
Be our garrison,
again we pray that God will exercise his empire over him
and you, oh Prince of the celestial militia,
with divine power,
chain satan and other spirits in hell
that to perdition of souls run around the world.
So be it."
Grotto of Saint Michael the Archangel in Monte Sant' Angelo, Monte Gargano, Italy: September 21, 2021.
The testimony by Lorenzo Petracca now in Italian: