COMBONI THAT DAY

In Pace Christi

Bro. Tomas Giovanni

Born: 19/05/1933
Luogo di Nascita: Imer (I)

Voti temporanei: 07/10/1959
Voti perpetui: 07/10/1965

Date of Death: 19/06/2017
Place of Death: Verona (I)

Born at Imer, in Trentino, he joined the Comboni Missionaries at Gozzano where he took first vows on 7 October, 1959. Having worked for five years in several houses in Italy (Gozzano, Venegono, Milan and Verona), he was assigned for two years to Paço de Arcos (Lisbon), where he learned Portuguese.

In 1966 he was sent to Mozambique where he worked for over 47 years in different places such as Carapira, Mueria, Lunga, Corrane, Nacaroa, Alua, Anchilo and Nampula.

In 2014 he returned for health reasons to Italy. He lived first at Brescia and Verona and at Castel d’Azzano where he died on 19 June, 2017.

Testimony by Fr. Francesco Antonini.

“I lived with Bro. Tomas at different times: for a number of years at the Catechetical centre of Anchilo and for two years in the Pre-postulancy.

He was one who loved the mission and lived in fidelity to his vocation. He was always faithful to community prayer. For those six years in the Pre-postulancy, he was an example for the young people of prayer and commitment to his work. For him, his work was the concrete way he lived the mission. Despite his back problems and an operation he had, he never spared himself. He was a great builder and his works were always well finished, beautiful and sound. His masterpiece was the church of Mueria and the Nampula hospitality house. He was a perfectionist and therefore demanding with his workers; he was also sensitive and understanding. He was generous and always willing to help without delay, even if at times he grumbled a bit.

During his time at the Pre-postulancy, besides being bursar and in charge of the house, he gladly and responsibly agreed to accompany some of the young men as their spiritual director. He treated well all the workers he employed. Each day, his daily timetable included a period of formative reading.

Honest and transparent, he loved the mission and was a real Comboni Brother like those formed in Pordenone: totally dedicated men of service.

Whenever possible, he was very happy to go and visit communities and pray with them.

Bro. Tomas left his mark on the mission of Mozambique. His final years spent in Verona, where he had a leg amputated, were the confirmation of his faith, his sound spirituality and his total love for the mission.

Testimony by Sr. Maria Pedron, Comboni Sister.

The news that Bro. Tomas had “gone to Paradise” took me by surprise, even though I knew how poorly he was. I thanked God for placing him on my path, for a number of years, when we formed part of the team of the Catechetical centre at Anchilo. He was a true brother to all. He showed a particular sensitivity to us Comboni Sisters. I received a great deal from him, especially when I needed to fix some practical things at the small hospital houses for the sick. That was during the war years when there were shortages: no water, no electricity, no food, etc. He always knew how to help in resolving maintenance problems, even when no spare parts were to be found.

He worked seriously and was always full of life and happy, even if he sometimes grumbled. He was frank and sometimes suffered at the thought of having offended someone.

What I always admired in him was his spirit of sacrifice and spirit of prayer. Thank you, Bro. Thomas, for your generosity!