The Founder Giuseppe Lazzati
Giuseppe Lazzati was born in Milan in 1909. He graduated from the Catholic University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1931.
For many years (from 1934 to 1945) he was President of the Youth Branch of the Diocesan Catholic Action of Milan.
In 1939, having decided that his vocation was a call for a "lay consecration", thanks to the Archbishop Cardinal Schuster’s support, he gave life with some friends to the lay society "Milites Christi".
In 1969 this group took on the present name of Secular Institute Christ the King.
From 1943 to 1945 Lazzati was interned in concentration camps in Poland and Germany, thus living the evangelist experience in difficult situations and setting an example of solidarity, fraternity and comfort to the men that shared this painful situation. In 1946 he was elected to the municipal council of Milan and as a Deputy to the Constituent Assembly and then to the Republic Parliament until 1953.
Upon his return to Milan, he lived a period of theological and spiritual affinity with Cardinal Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, going as far as becoming President of the Catholic Graduate Movement and then Diocesan President of Catholic Action. From 1961 to 1964, by Cardinal Montini’s appointment, he was made Director of the Milanese news daily "L’Italia". Upon his return to the Catholic University of Milan as a teacher, he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy and finally, from 1968 to 1983, he was Rector of that University, in one of the most difficult periods of the Italian school.
From 1976 to 1986, despite the progression of a serious illness, he tenaciously persevered in an uninterrupted and impassioned service of apostolate and spiritual accompaniment of many youths, activities that mainly took place at San Salvatore Hermitage in North Italy.
Giuseppe Lazzati died on the dawn of Pentecost, 18 May 1986. Since September 1988 his remains are buried at San Salvatore Hermitage.
There is no doubt that it is absolutely fine to say, "Ah well, perfection is not for this world". In such a paradigm, it would be natural to feel freed of the heavy commitment of personal growth and adult responsibilities. But it wouldn't do for a Christian.
A Christian knows that Perfection exists. It is the model that guides his/her thinking, life and day-to-day decisions. It was embodied in human history precisely to show us that the absolute Truth exists and a Christian's mission is to reveal, over time, this Perfection in the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is what Lazzati committed his entire life to.
The Decree approved by the Pope Francis (1) is seeking to remind us precisely of this. These men and women that the Church indicates as models are those that did not give up and say "there is nothing perfect in this world". Instead, they believed in a key revelation and perfection larger than their own life. They are not perfect, but they realised - probably better than others - that perfection is an unattainable absolute value for which it is worth fighting, making a commitment and bearing testimony to others. Christians are imperfect, but they search for perfection with humility and relentless dedication in the spheres of their lives - studying, profession, career, disease and their role in the Church and the world.
The fact that Lazzati is an example in the search for perfection in human and Christian life is not something that is simply based on our affection for him, but something proclaimed by the Church.
"The Decree, though, means the Church is telling us about Lazzati's holiness. This is a bit different. This is new."
"If the Church tells us such information, the information changes from being simple news to a call or an appeal. It is a call that touches our lives, seeking greater and renewed understanding of our role." (Giorgio M.)
(1) On 5 July 2013, Holy Father Francis approved a Decree on the Heroic Virtues of our Professor, officially recognising Giuseppe Lazzati as "Venerable".
(Fabio Domenico V.)