Rome (Agenzia Fides) - On Sunday 17 June, the small town of Selva di Progno, town and diocese of Verona, brought together Guinean of origin and Guinean of the heart, in the birthplace of His Exc. Mgr. Settimio Ferrazzetta (1924-1999 ), to celebrate the 35th anniversary of his episcopal ordination, the first Bishop of Bissau, on 19 June 1977 in the African country. According to information Fides received by the Curia of Bissau, the Bishop of Bafata, His Exc. Mgr. Pedro Zilli, presided the Eucharistic celebration which was attended by Mgr. Ferrazzetta’s family members, benefactors, volunteers, priests, religious and friends. In his homily, Mgr. Zilli highlighted four aspects of Mgr. Ferrazzetta’s life: spirituality, his love for the poor, missionary aspect, the commitment for peace, especially in the war of 1998-1999.
For the occasion, Mgr. Ferrazzetta’s successor, His Exc. Mgr. José Câmnate na Bissign, Bishop of Bissau, sent a message that was read at the beginning of the Mass, where Mgr. Ferrazzetta is remembered as "a man of faith, peacemaker, promoter of dialogue and an instrument of reconciliation" inviting to follow his footsteps" to building a better Guinean society, with the participation of all: citizens, state, Church." James Ocane, Guinean, one of the organizers of the initiative, took the floor at the end of Mass, citing the names of some deceased missionaries who, together with Mgr. Ferrazzetta, gave their lives for Guinea-Bissau. He then thanked all those present and concluded by saying: "For us in Guinea,Mgr. Settimio Ferrazzetta is alreadya Saint."
Mgr. Ferrazzetta was the first Bishop of Bissau. Belonging to the Venetian province of the Minor Friars, was born on December 8, 1924 in Selva di Progno. He was ordained a priest on 1 July 1951, arrived in Guinea Bissau on June 6, 1955 with the first group of Italian Minor Friars. Regional Superior for 18 years (1955-1973), Mgr. Ferrazzetta can be considered the founder of the mission, which he dedicated all his energies to. He also built and directed the leprosarium of Cumura. During the conflict which broke out between President Joao Bernardo Vieira and the former Chief of Staff Ansumane Manè, Mgr. Ferrazzetta was the only one accepted by both authorities. He had just returned to Guinea after he had shortened the time of his convalescence in Italy, in order not to fail to support the people and the peace process under way, when he died in the night between 26 and 27 January 1999. He is buried in the Cathedral of Bissau. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 19/6/2012)