Rome, Monday August 27, 2012
The Comboni Brother, Alfredo Fiorini was remembered on August 24 in the course of two Eucharists celebrated at a distance of 10 thousand km one from the other: one in Mozambique, where Alfredo, a doctor, was killed; the other in Terracina, Italy, in his native parish where he is buried. Bothe celebrations were presided over by the local bishops, Germano Grachane of Nacala, and Giuseppe Petrocchi of Latina-Terracina-Sezze. At both celebrations the prelates spoke of martyrdom and of witness, and therefore of a gift not only for the people or for a diocese but for all and for the universal Church.
The Comboni Missionaries celebrated in Carapira, diocese of Nacala, the conclusion of the Year of Memory of their presence in Mozambique. The 24th of August was chosen in order to remember the 20th anniversary of the killing of Comboni Brother Alfredo Fiorini in 1992, a few weeks before the end of the civil war between FRELIMO and RENAMO, in Muiravale-Nampula, in the north of Mozambique. The Eucharist was presided over by Bishop Germano Grachane of Nacala, with the participation of the pastor, some relatives and friends from Alfredo’s native parish, Fr. Venanzio Milani and the General Assistants Bro. Daniele Giusti and Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, on their official visit to Mozambique. Many missionaries, religious, priests and Christians were also present, people from the parishes that had known Bro. Alfredo. Memory was also made of the Comboni Sister Teresa Dalle Pezze, 46 year old, killed on January 3 1985 in the same place.
After the Mass a large number of people went to the Industrial School of Carapira where they could admire a beautiful exhibit on Bro. Alfredo and Sr. Teresa, prepared by the students, entitled “it is not a matter of courage, but of love.”
The Eucharist in Terracina, native parish of Alfredo and the place where he is buried was presided over by Bishop Giuseppe Petrocchi, accompanied by 11 priests, six of them Comboni Missionaries from the Curia and from San Pancrazio. The parish church was full of people who after 20 years still remember the beloved son of their land. At the entrance of the church a photo exhibit remembered the life of Bro. Alfredo.
The bishop spoke of the history and the life of Bro. Alfredo from the point of you of its end, namely the martyrdom. “Alfredo is up there in the heavenly Jerusalem, - said the bishop vividly moved – because he has given his life in a splendid way, going to the least, to the poorest and most needy. Alfredo is a martyr. And the proof is in this church, so full of people 20 years after his death.”After a short pause the bishop quoted a document of the Church (LG 42) to remind the assembly of the importance of martyrdom: “Since Jesus, the Son of God, manifested His charity by laying down His life for us, so too no one has greater love than he who lays down his life for Christ and His brothers. From the earliest times, then, some Christians have been called upon – and some will always be called upon – to give the supreme testimony of this love to all men, but especially to persecutors. The Church, then, considers martyrdom as an exceptional gift and as the fullest proof of love. By martyrdom a disciple is transformed into an image of his Master by freely accepting death for the salvation of the world – as well as his conformity to Christ in the shedding of his blood. Though few are presented such an opportunity, nevertheless all must be prepared to confess Christ before men. They must be prepared to make this profession of faith even in the midst of persecutions, which will never be lacking to the Church, in following the way of the cross.”
At the end of the Eucharist and in front of the mausoleum of Alfredo Fiorini, which is inside the church, the prelate quoted Paul VI (“Christian Joy”): “In reality, the strength of the Church, the certainty of its victory, its joy when we celebrate the struggle of its martyrs, come from the fact that she contemplates in them the fruitfulness of the Cross… The field of the Lord is incessantly covered by a richer harvest when the grains of wheat, fallen individually are reborn multiplied.”
At the end of the Eucharist and in front of the mausoleum of Alfredo Fiorini, which is inside the church,
the prelate quoted Paul VI: “… The field of the Lord is incessantly covered by a richer harvest
when the grains of wheat, fallen individually are reborn multiplied.”.