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Pasquale Vozza: From Saving Bodies to Saving Souls

Pasquale Vozza, From Saving Bodies to Saving Souls: A Life of Service to the Lord (Pasquale Vozza, 2020), vi + 192 pages, ISBN 9781678033316.

Pasquale Vozza is an Italian born evangelist and pastor. He served as president and secretary of the Italian Christian Church of Northern Europe and pastored the North Miami Christian Church for nearly thirty-five years. Vozza studied theology in Rome and at the College of the International Bible Training Institute in London. From Saving Bodies to Saving Souls chronicles his journey as a missionary and shepherd of God’s people. Much of this book describes the signs and wonders that accompanied his ministry as evidence of the ongoing miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in the contemporary Church.

The early chapters detail Vozza’s growing up years. He was born and raised in the industrial southern Italian city of Taranto, Apulia during the WWII years. The efforts of Italy’s Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini, to increase the Italian population, which included a benefit of 3 thousand lire per child, incentivized his parents to keep having kids (eight in all). Raised nominally Roman Catholic, Vozza learned the Catechism at school. However, he recalls how little he was taught about the Bible: “I did not hear the word ‘Bible’ until I was twenty-one years old” (p. 5). He became preoccupied with a nighttime routine of smoking, drinking, and gambling. Through the persistent prayers and encouragement of his mother, who was worshipping at an evangelical house church “underground” (non-Catholic congregations were forbidden), Vozza underwent a conversion experience. He resolved to win the souls of his wayward friends and found work selling Christian devotional literature door to door. He spent a year term in the military, where he earned a reputation as the “Protestant guy with the Bible” (p. 45). Stationed in Rome, each Sunday, Vozza attended the services of the only Protestant church in the city, the headquarter building of the Assemblies of God in Italy, founded by the Pentecostal pioneer, Roberto Bracco.

Vozza encountered the Jesus of the Bible at an underground church during the Fascist regime of Mussolini.

Subsequent chapters detail Vozza’s missionary journeys abroad, including work during the 1950s and 60s in London, Belgium, the US, and Germany. In Belgium, Vozza met and teamed up with missionaries of the Christian Church of North America (CCNA), for whom he became a salaried evangelist. In 1962, he married Angela, a gifted singer and accordionist and, thereafter, his foremost partner in missions. He describes how the two were constantly prepared to go wherever God was calling them to next: “Angela and I always had our suitcases and passports ready for the next evangelistic trip” (p. 116). In the mid-70s, Vozza turned his efforts towards the communist countries of Europe, including Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, where he faced the persistent threat of persecution. In communist Europe, police regularly confiscated Christian Bible materials, and evangelists, like Vozza, risked imprisonment. In subsequent years, Vozza fortified the CCNA founded ministries of Dr. Ernest Komanapalli in Amalapuram, India, and Anthony Foti in Sydney, Australia, before settling down in Luxembourg.

The final chapters describe Vozza’s move to the US and ministry in Florida. After seven years overseeing the CCNA sister organization, the Italian Christian Church of Northern Europe, he, his wife, and three daughters joined his wife’s family in Miami. There he accepted the call by the CCNA Southern District to pastor the North Miami Christian Church. The church quickly blossomed, aspiring to a multi-ethnic outreach with Sunday school offered in Italian, French-Creole, and Spanish and a dynamic ministry among the Jewish people.

Pasquale Vozza’s story offers a portrait of hope.

Vozza’s ministry was characterized by a love for the word of God and a humble willingness to venture to whatever mission field the Lord was calling him to next. His outreach work was marked by the miraculous. Vozza earned a reputation for his ministry of “healing and deliverance” (131). Nevertheless, as the book title suggests, his life work was more than miraculous feats. His foremost legacy was “saving souls.”

Vozza’s life story, of one sold out to godly service and the building of God’s kingdom, will resonate with Christians from all traditions. From Saving Bodies to Saving Souls offers a portrait of hope for the inquiring mind that will appeal to non-Christians looking in on the meaning of the life of faith from the outside. This book will be of interest to laypersons and ministers as well as historians of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity.

Reviewed by Paul Palma


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Category: Church History, Winter 2021

About the Author: Paul J. Palma, PhD, is a professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry at Regent University and a credentialed minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He is the author of Italian American Pentecostalism and the Struggle for Religious Identity (Routledge Studies in Religion series), Embracing Our Roots: Rediscovering the Value of Faith, Family, and Tradition (Wipf and Stock), and Grassroots Pentecostalism in Brazil and the United States: Migrations, Missions, and Mobility (Palgrave’s Christianity and Renewal series). Amazon Author page. LinkedIn page. Facebook.

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