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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Fr Juan Vecchi: a community in mourning
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¬†report by ANS news Yesterday morning, the Rector Major returned to his house. At 7.10, the mortal remains of Fr Vecchi arrived at the Pisana to be welcomed by Fr Luc Van Looy, his vicar, members of the General Council and the community at the Salesian Headquarters. He was taken in procession into the main chapel of the house, together with lay persons and many members of the Salesian Family. A concelebrated Mass followed, according to the liturgy of the feast of the day - St Francis de Sales, principal patron of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Fr Van Looy presided at the Eucharist and in his homily he spoke about the feast of St. Francis de Sales, the prayer-meeting for peace at Assisi led by the Pope, and the character of the Rector Major. He said: "Fr Vecchi knew how to combine that which we are celebrating: his concern for peace and the loving reasonableness of St. Francis de Sales. These aspects were always recurrent in his words and behaviour despite the acceleration of his illness". Fr Van Looy highlighted Fr Vecchi's serene sense of certainty - an attitude he developed after he made his choice to embark on his painful journey following a serious discernment. An attitude advised by the holy Bishop of Ginevrino to whom many entrusted themselves for spiritual direction. Speaking of the different stages of Fr Vecchi's illness, he recalled how on the day he left on 14 February, two years ago, the first symptoms of a serious illness became evident; then the long but slow progress of the disease, the sudden operation, and the many crises surpassed after that. "During the last days not having any more strength to react, he continued to maintain a welcoming glance on all those who visited him. That was two years of an advancing illness, lived in total faith". In conclusion, Fr Van Looy invited all present to unite in prayer for peace as at Assisi, and not to close ourselves in the emotion of a family that has lost its father, because: "We lift up our eyes to paradise from where Fr Vecchi accompanies us". The body of the Rector Major will remain at the Casa Generalizia until 9.00 am tomorrow, 26 January. On the same morning it will be taken to the Tempio di Don Bosco at Cinecittŗ, Rome, for the Eucharistic Celebration. The funeral service follows at 10.00 am The Holy Father sent the following message of condolence: "I have heard the sorrowful news of the passing away of Rev. Fr Juan Edmund Vecchi, the much esteemed Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation. I wish to express to you, and to the entire Salesian family my deep felt condolences. I remember him as a zealous minister of the gospel, totally faithful to Christ and to the Church who rendered a generous commitment to the spirit of service. While sharing with you all the sorrow, I offer fervent prayers of suffrages invoking God's goodness and everlasting peace upon his soul. I will be spiritually present with you during the funeral services. I cordially impart to you and to all the confreres and all those that are sharing with you this moment of suffering and mourning, the consoling apostolic blessing. " Others who have sent messages of sympathy include: Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, Cardinal Camillo Riuni, Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome and the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Severino Poletto, the Archbishop of Turin. The President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Government, Silvio Berlusconi, also sent his condolences.
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