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Over 122 years of serving the people of God in Coney Island Saint Justin of the Holy Trinity (Fr. Justin Maria Russolillo, S.D.V.) January 18, 1891 - August 2, 1955 Canonized: May 15, 2022

Justin Russolillo, was born on January 18, 1891, in Pianura Nr Naples (Italy) in the diocese of Pozzuoli. He was the son of Luigi Russolillo and Giuseppina Simpatia. He attended the seminary in Pozzuoli and the Regional seminary in Naples where he studied theology. He obtained excellent grades and was awarded the acclaimed Gold Medal for his studies.

Father Justin was ordained on September 20, 1913 in the Cathedral of Pozzuoli. It was his deep desire to found a congregation for vocations. On April 30, 1914 he implemented an experiment. He set up a group of boys known as "fedelissimi" (the most faithful) to live together at the father's house. However, this experiment did not last very long due to the disapproval of the Bishop.

In 1920 he became Parish Priest of San Giorgio in Pianura. He tried again to revive the community life with twelve other young men. This time his efforts were rewarded as he had the approval of the Bishop Pasquale Ragosta. The Vocationist order marks its official start on the 18th October, 1920.

On October 1, 1921 Father Justin welcomed some young women from the "Pia Unione" (Pious Union) and founded the order of the Sisters of the Divine Vocations.

The development of this female branch was helped immensely by Giovanna, sister of Fr. Justin, who was elected Superior General. Some other young women, who were not called for the community life but still able to enjoy a lay vocation which was conveyed to them, formed the secular order.

The main center of the new foundation was the Vocationary where all those who showed signs of a vocation and had not yet decided whether to enter the seminary or join a specific Religious Community were welcomed and formed, both spirituality and academically, free of charge. Poverty was not to stop them from realizing their vocation.

The parish which the Lord had given to Father Justin proved to be an instrument of providence. From this parish he was able to protect his ambition. He bloomed flowers of holiness and matured fruits of religious and sacramental vocations.

He preached every day and during the homily a lighted candle always burnt on the altar to remember that Jesus was the light present in his words. He used to say Mass at 4.30am every day in order to enable the early workers to go to Mass and receive Holy Communion before going to work. At times thousands of workers would be united in prayer.

Father Justin was an apostle of the courtyards. It was in the courtyards of the town that he would preach, and it was there that the beliefs of his followers were formed. He would pray the Rosary to the Holy Virgin and offer help and support to the sick and the poor with the assistance of the catechists. However, his work for vocations became difficult because of the restrictions and limitations from the ecclesiastical authorities. Their demands made admission to the novitiate and ordination difficult, and those demands were as slow agony to the Vocationist Order.

Father Justin honored the Holy Virgin and used the title Celestial Superior and Our Lady of Divine Vocations and entrusted all his work to her. He was faithful to the motto "Contemplation in action and action for contemplation."

The Holy Trinity was the center of his spirituality and his apostolate. His intense love of the Holy Trinity made him work for Universal Sanctification by promoting an ascetical and mystical life, and propagating religious life in every walk of life. He used to greet everyone wishing "Become a Saint."

Father Justin, the zealous parish priest, founder of the Society of Divine Vocations: Vocationist Fathers (1920) Vocationist sisters (1921) and Vocationist Apostles of the Universal Sanctification (1977), died in Pianura on August 2, 1955.

As the devotion to the holy and humble Parish Priest of Planura spread and intensified, the Vocationist Fathers unanimously decided to petition the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to initiate the process of his Sanctification and on January 18, 1998 Pope John Paul II raised him to the dignity of venerable and on May 7, 2011 Pope Benedict included his name in the list of those Beatified.

The Vocationist family, made up of Vocationist Fathers, Vocationist Sisters, Vocationist Apostles of Universal sanctification, Friends of Fr. Justin, Vocationist Missionary, Co-operators, servants of the Living Christ, Son of the Light and Shepherds of Youth, works in twenty countries and continues to follow and develop both the charism and mission of the Founder.

Father Justin passed on to his sons and daughters his love and concern for vocations in general, and from vocations of the poor in particular. Just like Father Justin, his children nurture "a real veneration of each vocation".

Thanks to Father Justin, hundreds of young men who live in poor areas are preparing for the priesthood in various Vocationaries, thousands of young people are receiving a solid Christian education in the schools run by Vacationist Fathers and Sisters, millions of people are made aware of and helped in their response to the vocations to holiness. The hopeful greetings that Fr. Justin used for his contemporaries as well as his "future friends" remains: "BE A SAINT… Become a real saint because everything else counts for nothing."

Father Justin was beatified as Blessed Justin Maria Russolillo, S.D.V. under Pope Benedict XVI. The process for a miracle spanned from March 16th, 2005 to November 14th, 2005 and was validated on March 19th, 2007 before receiving the approval of a medical board on June 18yh, 2009 and that of theologians on December 12th, 2009; the Congregation for the Causes of Saints followed suit on June 1st, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI approved it on July 1st, 2010 and Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery of the Causes of Saints, beatified Russolillo in Naples on May 7th 2011 on the Pope's behalf.

Pope Francis in 2020 confirmed a second miracle attributed to Blessed Justin (the healing of the Vocationist religious brother Emile Rasolofo in Madagascar). It was announced on November 9th, 2021 that Francis would canonize Russolillo on May 15th, 2022 under the title of Saint Justin of the Holy Trinity.