AMERICA/BRAZIL - Funeral and burial in Brazil for the Italian missionary Fidei Donum found dead

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Bahia (Agenzia Fides) - The Italian Fidei Donum missionary found dead last Sunday, Father Luigi Plebani (see Fides 05/30/2012) will be buried in Brazil, according to his desire.
Yet there is currently not an official report from the local police related to his death. According to some information released by the media, the missionary was found hanged, he also had a piece of tape over his mouth: the detail is considered as a possible indication of homicide, although police have not excluded the hypothesis of suicide. The Bishop of Ruy Barbosa, His Exc. Mgr. Andre de Witte, speaking with reporters, said that the cause of Fr. Luigi’s death is not yet clear. "Padre Luis", as he was known in Brazil, had participated in the morning at a party for an ordination, during which it was cheerful. However, said the Bishop, the Italian missionary had in the past received death threats by prisoners he regularly visited in the local prison: "one of his activities as a missionary was carried out in prison, and had already received some death threats", apparently by gangs linked to drug trafficking. "We are waiting for the autopsy results to know the truth about this crime," concluded the Bishop.
Fr. Luigi Plebani, according to his wishes, will be buried in Palmares, in the state of Pernambuco, which had been his first missionary destination in Brazil, thirty years ago, when he arrived in the parish of Lagoa dois Gatos. The priest was born in Rudiano, in the province of Brescia (northern Italy) in 1947, where he was ordained a priest in 1973. Before leaving for Brazil, in 1980, he had carried out his pastoral ministry in Brescia. In addition to Ruy Barbosa, the priest had previously worked in Itaipé in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 02/05/2012)