The Church will begin the process of beatification of Father Mario, the priest recognized for “healing” with his hands

Father Mario smiles in the middle of his work, in González Catán

“I am the guitar, the guitar maker is at the top and he is the one who truly does everything”, I used to repeat as a catchphrase Mario Pantaleo (1915-1991) to each person who kissed their hands. The man of short stature who with his mere presence filled hearts with peace, is considered by his faithful as a “healer”, a fame that came to him when in the Pilar parish, in Recoleta, some people spread the word about the results he generated after the laying on of hands he made on them.

Shortly after his death, on August 19, 1992, his faithful began to recount the extraordinary experiences they had with him. They claimed that they were “miracles” related to health. In recognition of the request to make him a saint, on November 23 at 11:00, the Catholic Church will begin the beatification process.

“As a postulator, I am very happy because this path begins whose cause has as an actor the Father Mario Association, which is the one that requested the beginning of the beatification process, and I presented it as a canonist who must present the testimonies to whoever leads the cause, in this case Archbishop Cardinal Mario Poli. It is up to him because the Father died in the City of Buenos Aires “, he tells Infobae Daniel Medina, Doctor of Canon Law, from the University of Salamanca.

He was also happy Carlos Garavelli, president and testamentary executor of the Obra Padre Mario founded by his mother, Perla Gallardo, the priest’s right hand. “If I had it in front of you today, I would say: ‘Rest assured, that the work is fine and that it continues …’ and I would give him a slap on the wrist for the responsibility he left me, ”confides the man who, at the age of 20, began a friendship with the priest.

Mausoleum where Father Mario Pantaleo rests (
Mausoleum where Father Mario Pantaleo rests (

In 2006, filmmaker Alejandro Doria brought the incredible story of Pantaleo to the cinema with the film Hands, starring Jorge Marrale and Graciela Borges.

How is the beatification process

Beatify it is to declare that a deceased, whose virtues have been previously certified, can be honored with worship. That path will start from Tuesday, November 23, Mario Pantaleo.

“So far it has been seen that there is no obstacle to start the process, that is what the Archbishopric of Buenos Aires has investigated and that it reaches Rome for the Holy See to answer that there is not. They already answered that the Father has a ‘reputation for holiness’, that is what people do, who have been asking for years to be blessed. From the beginning of the process, he will be considered a ‘servant of God’ and the first prints with his image can already be printed ”, explains Father Daniel Medina.

With the process underway, The next step for beatification is the request by the Church for a miracle after death. “It has many, but it is necessary to prove them. For the canonization, at the end of the process, another miracle is requested that would later make him a Saint ”, adds the expert in canon law.

Father José Mario Pantaleo (1915-1992) was known as a healing priest and for his social work
Father José Mario Pantaleo (1915-1992) was known as a healing priest and for his social work

“It is very important to highlight your figure because he is a priest along the lines of what Pope Francis asks today: he was totally dedicated to the poor. If you visit the work, you will immediately notice the dedication he had because near the Foundation, in González Catán, there are still dirt streets. Imagine what the place was like when he arrived! ”.

Father Medina presented 10 volumes on the life of Pantaleo with testimonies from those who knew him. “There are letters that they had sent him, others that he wrote, testimonies from people he attended. Many say they have received a miracle from him, but that is what has to be proven with documents and medical records, “he explains.

Hopeful, he ends: “We believe that the miracle is going to happen because people pray to him a lot in the mausoleum every day.”

The work in González Catán

Those who knew him and study his life coincide in describing him as a person with many virtues, above all, that of having fully consecrated his life to the service of the poorest and sickest.

“He was able to give mass at night and stay awake talking to the people who needed him; or he would run at 3 in the morning to assist whoever requested it, even neglecting his health because for many years he suffered from asthma. So it was “, summarizes the doctor and specialist in intensive care Carlos Garavelli upon the humanitarian vocation of the man whom he met when the idea of ​​the magnificent social work began to haunt his head.

The faithful pray inside the mausoleum where Father Mario rests, in González Catán (
The faithful pray inside the mausoleum where Father Mario rests, in González Catán (

“One day he was in Capital and he asked me to bring him in his own car to González Catán, where he already had a modest and small house. Before we stopped at a bakery from which he came out with a bag full of croissants that they could not sell the next day and they had given it to him. When we got to what is now part of the foundation, I saw the ‘silver group’, that’s what I used to say to the elders, who played cards and shuffleboard. When they noticed the Father approaching, one grabbed a pot and brought it to the fire. They had already prepared the cooked mate to wait for him and eat those croissants ”, he says and recalls that with the cup in one hand, he pointed with the other to the air, in the middle of a plot of land. “It showed different sectors and said: ‘The primary school will be there, the church there, the university there, the health center there.’ He would turn his finger to the other side and say that it would be a home for the elderly and in another, the nursery. I looked at him doubtingly and every time I doubted I was wrong ”.

Giuseppe Mario Pantaleo He was born in Pistoia, Italy, on August 1, 1915 and when he was 9 years old, he arrived in Argentina with his family fleeing from the needs of the first postwar period. They lived in Córdoba where he attended elementary school and, later, due to problems in his mother’s health, he returned with her to his native land.

There he was ordained a priest, in the middle of World War II. In 1948 he decided to return definitively to Argentina: he lived in Rosario, the city of Santa Fe and Rufino; in 1958 he arrived at the Recoleta parish where they began to speak of a priest who listened, he diagnosed and cured by laying his hands on. Too used a pendulum to detect pain in who came to him. His hands ran over the body without touching it and that was when he asked for the assistance of the “guitar maker”, as he referred to God.

At the end of the 1960s he arrived in González Catán, to the west of the Buenos Aires suburbs. He felt that there he should stay and continue his life, beyond the religious. With people who collaborated with him, the construction of a church and a social aid work for the residents of the neighborhood began. Today is the recognized —and beloved— “Obra Cristo Caminante” that soon became known as “the Work of Father Mario” where he looked first at the extremes of life: children and the elderly.

Father Mario's work today: there is a kindergarten, primary and secondary school and a university, among other fundamental pillars for education and social support
Father Mario’s work today: there is a kindergarten, primary and secondary school and a university, among other fundamental pillars for education and social support

“He opened the first space for the grandparents and then the nursery,” says Garavelli. The first to contain the elderly who no longer worked and the second to take care of the children while their parents went to work or look for work.

Between 1976 and 1992, a large part of the current 15,000 m2 were built and the schools and the Cristo Caminante Polyclinic, the Santa Inés Labor School for the Disabled, the Elderly Care Center, the Sports Center were launched, and the Presbítero José Mario Pantaleo foundations and the Ntra. Sra. del Hogar Foundation were created. the legal and operational structure.

Overcome by asthma died at 77 leaving a legacy among those who knew him in life and in those who began to know about him after his death. Thousands of people said goodbye to him in the burning chapel and accompanied the procession to its first destination in the Recoleta Cemetery and thousands of others to its final destination, in the Obra de González Catán a year later, where since then his remains have rested.

“He said that three things had to be done at the Foundation: ‘not give catechism at school and that each one choose whether to study it or not’. That is so important because atheists and other religions approached him, he crossed those borders because when they needed him, he did not ask if they were Catholic or not. Too asked that nothing be done ’24 hours’ And he said it about the centers for the elderly, especially. They wanted them to be there all day, to have activities and to return to the bosom of their family at night ”, says Garavelli and invites us to learn about the history and work of the man who was a friend and who changed his life.

Dinner for the benefit

The Work of Father Mario Pantaleo invites you to participate in its 24th Annual Fundraising Dinner, in order to celebrate the living commitment to the legacy of Father Mario and raise funds to support the various social programs that annually serve more than 41,555 direct and indirect beneficiaries.

The sweet bread made by hand by the students and teachers
The sweet bread made by hand by the students and teachers

The event, which will feature the conduction of Silvina Chediek and Cecilia “Caramelito” Carrizo, the Monday, November 22, at 9:00 p.m., online.

“The traditional Fundraising Dinner, which despite the pandemic continues, is an opportunity to meet to celebrate the past year and to reconvene so many friends from all over the country and the world who accompany us and support us unconditionally, in these more than 50 years of existence, and we know that this occasion will not be the exception, “he said. Carlos Garavelli, president of the two supporting foundations of the Work.

To join this charity event and support the Work, you can collaborate with different amounts. Among the options, the “Father Mario Box” with a Sweet bread Handcrafted made in the Work, a sparkling wine, the 2022 calendar, table placemats, a copy of the book “An Argentine tale” with photographs that portray the social action of the Work and people’s devotion to it.


Father Mario, a priest who became a legend for his “healing power” but also for his charitable, educational and social work
The patronage campaign that seeks to print a book about the Work of Father Mario Pantaleo

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