Joe and Josephine Gennaro: From early on, the Canadian missions held a special place in their hearts.
No matter who you were or where you met, if you were saying goodbye to Joseph Gennaro, he would smile broadly and ask you to “Keep loving.”
It was just one of the many ways that he and his wife Josephine spread the Gospel. In more than sixty years of marriage, Joe and Josie spent a considerable amount of time, effort, and money in helping others feel the warmth of the love of Jesus. From the giant painting of the Sacred Heart hanging above their mantle to the small change forced into the palms of those they knew who needed it, the pair rarely missed an opportunity to give.
One of their favourite objects of support was Catholic Missions In Canada. It was among the first charities they supported. During those early years, both developed a special fondness for the missions, in
The Gennaro Family
Perhaps Joe’s immigration to
A love of vehicles followed. Joe spent the next 60-plus years driving—and praying the rosary while driving—with prayers offered for his wife and each of his five children, and for the many intentions of those he supported, including Catholic Missions In Canada.
Life had not always been a “car ride,” though. There were many lean years, when the family operated a small grocery store on
They continued to give to Catholic Missions In Canada, even when the finances would not allow for it, with Joe quietly dismissing Josie’s concerns with a simple, “Don’t worry about it. The Lord will take care of it.”
It was this generosity and self-emptying that spurred Joe to become one of the founders of the St. Paul Credit Union, an organization created to assist new Canadians and their families.
Later, when the Gennaros owned a tavern and a rooming house, people would seek out Joe, refusing to speak to others, knowing fully well that he would not be able to say no to those in need, often offering a few dollars—“something that might help.”
It had always been the older Gennaros’ desire to always give “something that might help” and to continue supporting Catholic Missions In Canada. Now, nearly a decade after their deaths, their five children are fulfilling that wish through an endowment in their memory to CMIC, a gift that they hope will prompt others to “keep loving.”
(Jason Gennaro is a grandson of the late Joseph and Josephine Gennaro.)
Reprinted from: Catholic Missions In