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Asia

2009-01-29

ASIA/HONG KONG - Father Quirino De Ascaniis, PIME missionary for 75 years in Hong Kong, dies at the age of 100, known and loved for his dedication and complete openness to God's will.

Hong Kong (Agenzia Fides) - “He served the Church and the mission in the Chinese world with all his life and strength, dedicating himself to the parish, pastoral ministry, etc. with a great simplicity.” This was how Coadjutor Bishop John Tong of the Diocese of Hong Kong remembered Fr. Quirino De Ascaniis, PIME missionary, who was known and loved by his faithful, who dubbed him “the living saint.” He passed away at the age of 100, on January 11, while in Eucharistic Adoration, in the rest home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. According to a report from the Kong Ko Bao (the Chinese version of the diocesan bulletin), the funeral Mass was presided by Bishop John Tong in Christ the King Parish on January 19. After the commemoration, on the evening of the 18th, and the Mass on the 19th, the missionary was buried in Hong Kong, in the land where he had given his entire life, after 75 years on the mission. Over 40 priests and hundreds of faithful will present to offer their final farewell. Bishop Tong said: “In many instances, he found death when he came to China to serve the mission during the Second World War, but responding to the Lord's call, he never backed out.” As soon as he breathed his last, while he was in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, the faithful of Hong Kong were even more convinced that their Fr. Ascaniis was a saint, “because the Lord came in person to take him.”
According to information from Fr. Franco Cumbo, Regional Superior of the Hong Kong/China PIME, Fr. Quirino De Ascaniis was born on August 5, 1908 in Giulianova, Teramo (Italy). He entered the Institute in Genova in September 1929, coming from the Diocesan Seminary of Teramo. He made his final vows on March 11, 1932 and was ordained in Milan on September 24, 1932. In August 1933, he left Italy for the mission in Hong Kong. After studying Chinese, in 1936 he was sent to the southern district of Wai Yeung (China). In December 1941, on account of the war, he was forced to leave the area However, he returned not long afterwards, remaining there until he was expelled from China in October 1951. In Hong Kong, he became Rector of the Diocesan Seminary of Sai Kung until 1955, and later Rector of the same district until 1961. From 1961 to 1965, he served as associate pastor at Saint Teresa, in Kowloon, and from 1966-1993 he served as assistant pastor in the Church of the Holy Rosary and chaplain of Queen Elizabeth hospital. In 1993, he retired and took up residence in the “Saint Joseph's Rest Home,” where he spent his days in peace and tranquility, in prayer and always with a smile on his face, even in the final years of his long life. On April 10, 2008, on the 150th anniversary of PIME's foundation in Hong Kong, he also celebrated his 100th birthday and 75th anniversary of his presence on the missions. Upon these celebrations, he received a long message from Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone, and the blessing of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides 29/01/2009)

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