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Posted: 2/27/2001 10:44:25 PM EDT
Admirers of a sharpshooting seminarian who became a saint are lobbying the Vatican to make their man the patron saint of handgun owners.

In a ceremony Tuesday, John Michael Snyder, a gun fancier and ex-Jesuit seminarian and who once worked for the National Rifle Association, awarded medals to men who, like himself, think St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother deserves such special Vatican recognition. The event was held at a hotel just down the street from St. Peter's Basilica.

Born Francis Possenti in 1838 in Assisi, the hometown of another, more famous, holy man, the saint is also known as Gabriel Possenti. Along with another saint known for valor, Joan of Arc, he is one of three saints made during the early 20th century papacy of Benedict XV.

''It is obvious that St. Gabriel Possenti is very much a saint for the 21st century,'' Snyder said of the man whose sharpshooting skills scared away marauders from the Italian village of Isola del Gran Sasso one day in 1860.

According to accounts, Possenti confronted some renegade soldiers who were about to rape a village woman. At that moment, a lizard darted by, and Possenti shot it dead in a display of marksmanship that impressed the bad guys so much they fled.

Speaking on the saint's feast day, Snyder said making Possenti the patron of handgun owners would show that the Vatican is ''courageous enough to stick its neck out for the right of individuals to defend themselves against evil and tyranny.''

The Vatican has approved of many saints as patrons of various occupations or groups, from maids to chefs, from hunters to funeral directors. But Snyder, who heads the Arlington, Va.,-based St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc., might not have a quick answer to his prayers.

The Vatican press office on Monday said it has noted in the past that naming a patron for gun lobbyists isn't opportune.

Snyder, who said the Vatican told him a few years ago that he needed to enlist bishops around the world for his cause, said he would not be discouraged.

''I intend to keep bringing this to the Vatican's attention till they finally get the message,'' Snyder said at the ceremony. ''Things in the Catholic church often take a very, very long time.''

The medals he handed out bear an image of the saint, described as the ''guardian saint of marksmen,'' flanked by a handgun and a lizard.

About 20 people attended the medal ceremony. Among those honored were a great-grandnephew of the saint, Francesco Possenti, and Paolo Tagini, author of an article in the Italian magazine Armi (Arms) lamenting how few Italians know of the saint's heroism.

The magazine also carried a ''prayer of the sharpshooter'' asking Possenti to [green]''bless our arms so that they may serve to defend and never ever to offend.''[/green]

I like that![^]

sorry,, but when I saw someone want the link this morning
I went back to newsday and it had expired from the scroll. cant find it now [V]

Link Posted: 2/27/2001 10:57:09 PM EDT

HHHMMMM, do you think this might bring our
ungodly brethern closer to God?
Link Posted: 2/27/2001 11:57:07 PM EDT
''Bless our arms so that they may serve to defend and never ever to offend.''

I like that.

Link Posted: 2/28/2001 3:36:09 AM EDT
Pea, can we have a link to the source?
Link Posted: 2/28/2001 7:07:33 AM EDT
Some Catholic parishes have a special "Blessing of the Pets" on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Parishoners bring their pets to be blessed by the parish priest.

Can you see a similar ceremony for firearms? Imagine a Catholic priest in cassock and surplice blessing an AR-15 with holy water and the sign of the cross: "Lord, bless these arms that they may ever serve to defend and never offend, Amen."

That might really send the anti's into a tailspin. I like it.
Link Posted: 2/28/2001 7:13:37 AM EDT
DoCH -

If they would bless an AR15, would they cannonize an M16????  [:D]

Link Posted: 2/28/2001 7:36:59 AM EDT
No, but I think they'd cannonize a howitzer.
Link Posted: 2/28/2001 8:14:02 AM EDT

Can ar15.com adopt "prayer of the  sharpshooter"

without offending our ungodly brothers.

Link Posted: 2/28/2001 8:23:46 AM EDT
If the Pope knew how many potential converts
are out here he would not hesitate to make
St. Gabriel a Patron St..
Link Posted: 2/28/2001 8:27:01 AM EDT
Wheres the link? PLEASE
Link Posted: 2/28/2001 10:00:26 AM EDT
Hang on Im lookin[:(!]
It was  an ap wire that was on last night and now it has passed and I cant find it now.
Link Posted: 2/28/2001 10:16:09 AM EDT
Could we get 'em to use CLP instead of Holy Water?


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