Tomasi, Giuseppe Maria Carol, St.
TOMASI, GIUSEPPE MARIA CAROL, ST.
Cardinal, liturgical scholar, priest of the Clerks Regular of the Theatine; b. Sept. 12, 1649, Alicata, Sicily, Italy; d. Jan. 1, 1713, Rome.
Eldest son of the duke of Palermo; four of his sisters including Ven. Maria Crucifixa (1645–99), became Benedictines. Rather than attaching himself to the Spanish Court as his father desired, he renounced his inheritance, joined the Theatines in Palermo in 1665 and was ordained in 1673.
Delicate health prevented his engaging in the sacred ministry, so he dedicated himself to study at Messina, Ferrara, and Rome. He was fluent in the classical as well as many Oriental languages.
Energetic in research, he drew from the Vallicellian and Vatican Libraries' treasures of unedited works, among them: Codices Sacramentorum nongentis annis antiquiores (Rome 1680), containing the Sacramentarium Gelasianum (7th c.), Missale Gothicum, Missale Francorum, Gallicanum Vetus; Psalterium (Rome 1683), a comparison of the Gallican and Roman psalters; Responsalia et Antiphonaria Romanae Ecclesiae (Rome 1686), manuscripts of the 9th to 12th centuries; Sacrorum Bibliorum tituli (Rome 1688); and Antiqui libri Missarum Romanae Ecclesiae (Rome 1691), containing the Antiphonary and Lectionary of St. Gregory; Officium Domicinae Passionis (Rome 1695), used by Greeks on Good Friday and translated into Latin; Speculum (Rome 1679); Exercitium Fidei, Spei et Caritatis (Rome 1683); Breviarium Psalterii (Rome, 1683); Vera Norma di Glorificar Dio (Rome, 1687); Fermentum (Rome, 1688); Psalterium cum canticis (Rome, 1697); Indiculus Institutionum Theologicarum Veterurn Patrum (3 vols., Rome, 1709, 1710; 1712), an exposition of theological theory and practice, derived from original patristic sources.
Tomasi di Lampedusa's profound erudition and critical power are apparent in the introductions and the dissertations he wrote for his editions of manuscripts. His scholarship would lay the groundwork for the science of liturgical studies that enabled the revision of the missal and breviary following Vatican II.
Tomasi was a consultor on many of the Roman Congregations, and on May 19, 1712, was created a cardinal by Clement XI, his friend whom he had encouraged to accept the Chair of Peter.
Beyond his erudition and nobility, Tomasi was a humble man of great charity toward the poor. Many of his works were published under the pseudonym Carus. He introduced Gregorian chant and taught in his titular church, S. Martino ai Monti, Rome.
He fell ill on Christmas Eve 1712. Upon his death one week later, he was buried in his titular church. He was beatified by Pius VII, June 5, 1803, and canonized by John Paul II, Oct. 12, 1986.
Pope John Paul II commented that his canonization was timely because of Tomas's "importance in the field of liturgical worship, which he greatly promoted in his life and with his learned writings…. The saint whomwe proclaim today helps us to understand and bring about this renewal [Second Vatican Council] in its proper sense." Patron of liturgy and liturgists.
Feast: Jan. 3.
Bibliography: p. a. rullÁn, Ephemerdies Liturgicae 72 (1958) 181–98. i. scicolone, Il cardinale Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa e gli inizi della scienza liturgica (Rome 1981). L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed. 42 (1986) 8–9.