Mons. Geraldo Fernandes
Archbishop Geraldo Fernandes was born on February 2, 1913 in Contagem (M.G. Brazil). His parents, Virgilato and Maria José, knew how to instill in him the most precious virtue of him. Orphaned of his father at the age of six, he had to start working and so soon had to share family concerns with his mother, despite already having poor health. As a child he learned the mystery of the cross, which forged him in evangelical perfection and helped him to live only for God.
At the age of ten, he felt the seed of a priestly vocation awaken in him, making the decision to leave everything and enter the Congregation of Claretian Missionaries (CMC), in Belo Horizonte, to devote himself to the service of the Church and of souls.
He made his novitiate in Guarulhos and his consecration to God on February 10, 1929. After moving to Rio Claro, he devoted himself to the study of philosophy, and later moved to Curitiba, where he studied theology. He was then sent to Rome to complete his studies. He was ordained a priest in Rome on 25 October 1935, graduating in 1939 in Roman and Canon Law at the Pontifical Lateran University. Back in Brazil, he taught canon law and moral theology in the Claretian institute of Curitiba, of which he was later rector.
In 1954 he was transferred to the city of São Paulo as Vicar Provincial. In the same year, he received from the Holy See the appointment of Assistant General of Religious, in Brazil, who provided assistance with great care and competence. He also devoted himself to the press, as editor of the magazine “Ave Maria” of São Paulo, founding and managing the newspaper “La Voce del Paraná” and “Popular Counseling” for ten years. He has collaborated on various magazines, including “Sponsa Christi”. He wrote two biographies of St. Anthony Mary Claret and translated the “Religious Law”.
A man of great dynamism and missionary zeal, always rooted in the will of God the Father, and animated by the love of Christ, he dedicated himself to everyone with ardent charity and exquisite paternal goodness. He knew how to cultivate the virtues: humility and meekness, the typical trust of the missionary in Divine Providence, obedience, the interior life, the search for salvation and the perfection of souls. Straight in his actions and friend of all, he breathed goodness and joy, courtesy, understanding and mercy.
Archbishop Geraldo was a great friend of the poor and humble. There were no appointments in his diary because he always welcomed everyone and at any time. His apostolic zeal never stopped, under any circumstances. Despite his numerous commitments, God reserved a new mission for Mons. Geraldo in 1958: the Foundation, together with the servant of God Mother Leonia Milito, of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Anthony Mary Claret. A Congregation dedicated to missions all over the world, from Brazil to Europe, South America, Africa and Australia, working for the glory of God and the good of souls, with all possible means. Living the motto “kindness and joy”, the Claretian missionaries seek to sow charity and peace in the world. Mons. Geraldo gave himself to the Congregation with his paternal solicitude, taking care, together with Mother Leonia Milito, to give the Congregation a solid foundation and an evangelical and apostolic spirit for the good of the poorest of the poor.
One day he said to the faithful of his diocese: “I do not come in search of earthly things, but of your souls. I want to die among the Londoners, without debts, without money and without sin“. And so it happened, when sister Death came to visit him, after a heart attack and subsequent cerebral embolism, on March 29, 1983. He donated his eyes. Thus, after his death, his corneas were removed, which served to restore sight to two unknown persons.