Father Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan Capuchin friar, was born in Colli del Tronto in the Central Italian province of Ascoli Piceno on 22 July 1934. He made his religious profession in the Capuchin Order in 1951 and was ordained priest in 1958. He holds a doctorate in theology (Fribourg, 1962) and another in classical literature (Milan, 1966); he was ordinary professor of history of ancient Christianity and head of the department of Religious Sciences at the Catholic University of Milan. He also served as member of the International Theological Commission and the Catholic Delegation for the Dialogue with the Pentecostal Churches.
In 1979, he stepped down from his teaching post and began dedicating himself wholly to preaching the Word. He says, “I try to follow in the footsteps of the Fathers of the Church who did theology from the pulpit than from the chair”. In 1980, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II Preacher to the Papal Household and has been exercising this office ever since. From 1994 to 2010, he ran a weekly program on the first channel of the Italian State Television (RAI) on the Gospel of the following Sunday. As a polyglot, he has generously placed his talents at the service of the Word across the world.
He was awarded an Honorary degree in Laws from Notre Dame University (Indiana), in Sciences of Communication from the University of Macerata (Italy) and in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio).
In addition to his early scholarly works on patristics and ancient Christianity, he has published numerous books on spirituality and theology, the fruit of his preaching ministry, now translated into more than twenty languages. From 2009, when free from preaching, he lives in a hermitage, at Cittaducale in the province of Rieti, Italy, ministering to a small community of cloistered nuns.