«I would like to tell you what the priesthood is for me, what it means for me to be a priest today. It is to be simultaneously, as much as it is possible for a human creature,Jesus of the cenacle and Jesus of calvary, Jesus of the crowds and Jesus of Gethsemani, Jesus of the hosannas and Jesus of “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, Jesus of death and Jesus of the resurrection.
It is to be always more, everyday a little bit more, Jesus, just as the eternal Father desires and arranges in his loving will. […] Let Him use me as he wants. I dn’t have anything except the present. In it, to be able to do anything or not, both humanly and as a priest, doesn’t matter; what matters is to be that will of God on me».
This is what Fr. Cosimino wrote to his parishioners on the 25° anniversary of his priestly ordination, in 1988, when he was already tried by the illness that will bring him to the end of his earthly experience on July 5, 1989. «Jesus died at thrity three years old – he wrote – so why do I have to die at 49 or 50? Jesus was able to say: “Everything is done” while everything was revolving around him, nevertheless he says it. Why do I think of many big and small projects? For me too everything will be “Done” (brought perfectly to its conclusion) if I remain like Jesus in the design of the Father».
Fr. Cosimino, was born in Gaeta (Italy) on September 5, 1939 and he entered the seminary in 1950. In this period of formation he was exemplary, both in his spiritual journey, lived with great committment, and also in his studies. A great desire was always strong in him: to understand how to live in order to become a saint. He was ordained a priest in Gaeta on July 14, 1963. A year after his ordination he participated in a meeting of the Focolare Movement at Ala di Stura (Northern Italy). Here, as he himself would often repeat, he found the answer to his desire for sanctity, he found the “IDEAL”, as it was called then. And so he immediately treasured, with committment, all that he received, striving not to lose even a single word and his committment was in understanding, but above all in living the spirituality of unity.
In 1967 he was named the parish priest of St. Paul, in his native city. Here, with his typical style full of love and attention towards everyone, in a special way towards the least (teenage mothers, ex-prisoners, drug addicts, rthe homeless and the drifters), he organized his community by focusing simply, but with strength and decisiveness, on living the Gospel in all the situations and in the most diverse realities. Occasions were not lacking wherein he had to take a stand also with regards to social realities that were drifting far away from a truly human and Christian dimension. He worked a lot for the Priest Movement and for the Parish Movement, two branches of the Focolare Movement. In this way many, also on an international level, were able to get to know him, as was evident by the great participation of many during the entire period of his illness.
A significant aspect in order to understand his life is his relationship of unity with other priests, in a passage from an individualistic mentality to a life of communion. His only goal, to grow in charity, putting aside the talks on new techniques of the apostolate, of catechesis and on modern and attractive expressions of the liturgy, as was fashionable then, to give space to sharing, like in a family: goods, salary, friends, light or trials, health, clothes, ideas.
He made his own with radicalness and conviction, the symbol of the priest movement of the Focolare: the washing of the feet. He wrote: «The consideration of the washing of the feet was fundamental for me. Because He did it, so too must I repeat it for the people of this generation. Sublime dignity! But Christ in his divine dignity lays down his clothes and washes the feet. I, a priest, will repeat Christ, by stripping away my false good reputation which I am attached to and I will come closer to the others to bring them the washing of the feet, the redemption. I will wash the feet in the confessional, in the hospital, while saying Mass, taking care of the poor, the elderly. But I must strip myself of everything. This is essential».