From 1833 Vincent Pallotti was Assistant Director of the Pontifical Urban College – Propaganda Fide. It housed seminarians from all over the world. It became a tradition there, on the feast of Epiphany, to celebrate the Feast of Languages. During the celebration the students gathered in front of the altar depicting the Magi worshiping the Holy Family. They recited prayers and chanted hymns and psalms in their own languages. The worship of the Magi became a symbol of the faith of all Christians – they represented the whole of humanity devoid of age, continent and race. The Magi, though not belonging to the people of Israel, found the promised Messiah and worshiped him.
The international community at Propaganda Fide and the tradition of the Feast of Languages became a concrete expression for Pallotti of oneness in the midst of a diversity of cultures and languages. His idea of a universal catholic apostolate found its impetus here. The Epiphany feast became a symbol of his vision of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, inviting each one of us to engage in the work of reviving faith and charity.
From 1836 until his death in 1850 Vincent organized an Epiphany Octave, a celebration which unfolded into the greatest event in the church of Rome at that time. Its various rituals and languages brought an expression of universality and thus it became a truly ecumenical event. In 1847 the Feast of Languages received approbation from Pope Pius IX and he personally embraced the celebration.
The feast of the Epiphany Octave is celebrated in different parts of Italy by the Pallottine family. We have a few photos from Sicilia and Rocapriora where our Pallottine Fathers are working. This feast is very much loved and admired by our Holy Founder St. Vincent, to propagate love and faith among people.