Our Founder

Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias was born in São Paulo, Brazil, on August 15, 1939. His parents, António Clá Dias and Annitta Scognamiglio Clá Dias, were immigrants from Europe (his father being a Spaniard from Cádiz and his mother, an Italian from Rome), in whom the Catholic faith, which they had received from their forefathers, was still vibrant.

This lively faith manifested itself early in João. In school, he sought to organize a movement among his classmates to help young people practice a virtuous life. He joined the Marian Congregations, and at the invitation of a teacher, entered the Third Order of the Discalced Carmelites of the Strict Observance, on May 23, 1956 in the city of São Paulo. This event deeply marked his life.

He completed his secondary studies at Colégio Estadual Roosevelt and studied law at the prestigious Largo de São Francisco Faculty in São Paulo. During his post-secondary studies he shone as an active Catholic university leader, in the turbulent years preceding the Sorbonne revolution of May 1968.

audienciaMsgr. João S. Clá Dias is an honourary canon of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, in Rome, and Protonotary Apostolic. He has degrees in Philosophy and Theology from the Italo-Brazilian University in São Paulo and a Humanities Doctorate from the Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra, in the Dominican Republic. He is also Master of Canon Law at the Superior Pontifical Institute of Canon Law in Rio de Janeiro and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the Catholic University of Colombia. Most recently, he received his Doctorate in Canon Law from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas, more commonly known as the Angelicum, in Rome.

His ardent desire to dedicate his life to the apostolate, in faithfulness to the magisterium of the Chair of Peter as well as his insight into the need for solid doctrinal foundation, led him to the study of Thomistic theology with the renowned university professors of Salamanca (Spain), including Fr. Arturo Alonso Lobo, OP, Fr. Marcelino Cabreros de Anta, CMF, Fr. Victorino Rodríguez y Rodriguez, OP, Fr. Esteban Gómez, OP, Fr. Antonio Royo Marin, OP, Fr. Teófilo Urdánoz, OP, and Fr. Armando Bandera, OP. Years later, in a gesture of profound gratitude, he wrote short biographies on two of his mentors with editions published in Spain and the United States: “Antonio Royo Marin, master of the spiritual life, brilliant preacher and renowned author”, and “Fr. Cabreros de Anta, CMF, A solid pillar of Canon Law in our century.”

The institutes for the intellectual and doctrinal formation of the Heralds of the Gospel were later founded as a fruit of these studies: The Aristotilean-Thomistic Philosophical Institute, and the St. Thomas Aquinas Theological Institute, as well as the St. Scholastica Philosophical-Theological Institute for the feminine branch, and the Heralds of the Gospel University, which opened with courses in Philosophy and Theology.

Seeing music as an efficacious means of evangelization, he refined his musical gifts with renowned maestro Miguel Arqueróns, conductor of the Paulista Choir of the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo.

His desire for perfection spurred him to initiate a provisory attempt at community life in a former Benedictine edifice in São Paulo, in 1970. Of those first companions, none persevered. Yet, after numerous adversities, the community took root and blossomed into an evangelization movement headed by Msgr. João Clá. From this founding house developed many others, in which members dedicated themselves to prayer and study in preparation for works of evangelization. This took the juridical form of a Private Association of the Faithful, The Heralds of the Gospel, in the diocese of Campo Limpo (Brazil). With its implantation in an additional 20 countries it was recognized by the Pontifical Council of the Laity, on February 22, 2001, as an International Association of Pontifical Right. Today it carries out activities in 78 countries on five continents. Shortly after the approval, the Vicariate of Rome entrusted the care of the Church of St. Benedetto in Piscinula to the Heralds of the Gospel.

Msgr. João Clá Dias is the founder and current Superior General of the Heralds of the Gospel.

He also established a feminine branch of the Heralds – in a similar manner but independently from the masculine branch – with the ideal of community life as a means of achieving sanctity and worthily preparing for the evangelizing mission. From the feminine branch arose the Society of Apostolic Life Regina Virginum, which was canonically erected in the Diocese of Campo Limpo, by Bishop Emilio Pignoli.

Inspired by a desire for greater dedication to Our Lord and his brethren, Msgr. João Clá prepared for the priestly ministry along with some of his companions. Because of the role which the Third Order of Carmel played in the founding of the Heralds of the Gospel, it was a Carmelite prelate, the Most Rev. Lucio Angelo Renna, then Bishop of Avezzano, Italy, who welcomed the first priests of this Association. They – including Msgr. João Clá – were ordained on June 15, 2005, in the same Carmelite Basilica where almost 50 years previously he had begun his activities at the service of the Church and his fellow Christians. The ceremony was honoured with the presence of Cardinal Claudio Hummes. Seven bishops concelebrated the Eucharist along with seventy priests.

These first priests of the Heralds of the Gospel constituted the Priestly Society of Apostolic Life Virgo Flos Carmeli, which was canonically erected by the Bishop of Avezzano, the Most Rev. Lucio Renna. Msgr. João Clá Dias is the founder and present Superior General of Virgo Flos Carmeli.

Msgr. João Clá Dias has also formed approximately 50 choirs and symphonic bands in the various countries in which the Heralds of the Gospel are active. He is the conductor of the International Choir and Orchestra of the Heralds of the Gospel, which has toured several countries of Europe and the Americas.

He has written widely distributed works (some surpassing one millions copies), published in Portuguese, Spanish, English, Italian, French, Polish and Albanian: “Fatima, Dawn of the Third Millennium,” “The Rosary, the Prayer of Peace,” Sacred Heart of Jesus, Treasure of Goodness and Love,” “The Miraculous Medal, its History and the Celestial Promises,” “Via Sacra,” “Jacinta and Francisco, the Chosen Ones of Mary,” “Daily Prayers,” “The Mother of Good Counsel of Genazzano,” “Dona Lucilia” and “Commentaries on the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception”.

Msgr. João Clá is a member of the International Society of Thomas Aquinas, the Marian Academy of Aparecida and the Pontifical Academy of the Immaculate Conception. He has been honoured in various countries for his cultural and academic achievements, receiving the Medal of Sciences from Mexico and the title of Doctor Honoris Causa, from the Italo-Brazilian University of São Paulo.

He is the founder of and regular contributor to the monthly magazine Heralds of the Gospel, published in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, with a total circulation of nearly one million. Since 2002, he has written a commentary on the Gospel for each issue. He is also a regular contributor to the academic publication “Lumen Veritatis,” published by the University of the Heralds of the Gospel, which was inaugurated in October 2007, due mainly to his initiative.

In an effort to enhance benevolent apostolic works, he created the charitable “Mercy” foundation, within the Heralds of the Gospel Association in Brazil. It gathers donations through mass mailings.

Under his impetus and guidance the Heralds of the Gospel International College launched its academic mission in 2005.

The construction of Our Lady of the Rosary Church, at the Seminary of the Heralds of the Gospel, is his most recent achievement. The Monastery of Mount Carmel, of the Society Regina Virginum was recently completed, due, once again, to his untiring efforts.

On the 15 of August 2009, the Holy Father Benedict XVI, in recognition of all the work carried out by Msgr. João Clá at the service of the Church, granted him the “Pro Eclesia et Pontifice” Medal, one of the highest honours awarded by the Holy Father to those who distinguish themselves by their endeavours on behalf of the Church and the Roman Pontiff. The medal was delivered to Msgr. João Clá by Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life.

2 Responses

  1. Dear Father,

    Peace and Love!

    I’m a Capuchin monk of the Holy House of Loreto in Marche in the centre of Italy.

    Through the site http://www.santafamigliatv.it we are committed via Internet for the new evangelization.

    To this aim, we ask you for one of your film footage. (any format DVD, VHS, minicassette) you have already realized, so as to include in our Schedules and our Archives.

    The topic could be the presentation of your institute, your busisness vocation, your missions, ….
    The movie will be offered for a year (twice a week) and permanently in our archive always freely available.
    In support of this activity religion we ask you for your contribution of 100€.

    We invite you to know the meantime visitors to our site.


    in SS Hearts of Jesus and Mary


    9 de August de 2010 at 8:49


    I love Jesus more than my life . Pray for me

    1 de February de 2011 at 5:39

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *