Giuseppe Maria Abbate (1886­­­­­‒1963) was one of the many Italians who immigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century. However, his career in the new country would become quite unusual. Not only did he found a new religious group, the New Jerusalem Catholic Church in Chicago (1917), but he also claimed that he was a divinely elected Celestial Messenger and even the Celestial Father, God incarnate. Though a few authors have mentioned Abbate in passing, this is the first detailed investigation about him and his religious movement.

In the book Giuseppe Maria Abbate: The Italian-American Celestial Messenger (2018), Professor Magnus Lundberg (Uppsala) and Fr. James W. Craig (Chicago) present aspects of Giuseppe Maria Abbate’s biography, his religious claims, and mission as well as the history of the New Jerusalem Catholic Church, which he founded. The outline is chronological mainly, following Abbate from his birth in 1886 until his death in 1963, but with a clear focus on the period from the late-1910s onwards, when he appeared as a religious leader. It also includes an investigation of the congregation’s development after the founder’s death and the legacy of the Celestial Messenger.

The book is part of the Uppsala Studies in Church History e-book series that is published in the Department of Theology, Uppsala University. The full-text is available here

For a photo reportage on the Celestial Messenger in La Settimana INCOM Illustrata from 1950.

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