Group lobbies Vatican to recognise gun saint
A group of Catholics from Virginia in the USA is promoting the recognition of St Gabriel Possenti as the patron saint of handgunners.
Possenti is credited with using a handgun to scare off a band of mercenaries terrorising an Italian village more than 140 years ago.
John Snyder, founder and chairman of the St Gabriel Possenti Society, said: "Law-abiding handgunners, and there are tens of thousands of them in the United States and throughout the world, should have a specific patron.
"After all, people use handguns millions of times a year to defend innocent life or to thwart the perpetration of criminal acts," he said.
Snyder has not received any response from the Vatican.
In 1860, St. Gabriel disarmed two leaders of a gang of mercenareis attacking a northern Italian town. Carrying a pistol in each hand, he is said to have confronted the mercenaries, before shooting dead a lizard that crawled across the street. The mercenaries, frightened of the monk's marksmanship, turned and fled the city. The Passionist monk died in 1862 and was canonised by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.
St Gabriel Possenti Society
6 Mar 2002