AMERICA/BRAZIL - Italian Comboni Missionary Bishop Gianfranco Masserdotti dies in road accident

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - The Comboni General House has announced the death of Italian missionary Bishop Gianfranco Masserdotti, Bishop of Balsas in Brazil, killed in Brazil in a road accident 12 km from the town of Balasas on September 17 when a car hit his bicycle. Fr. Arnaldo Baritussio, of the Comboni General House informs us that Gianfranco Masserdotti was born in Brescia, northern Italy on 13 September 1941. He joined the Comboni Missionaries in his youth and was ordained a priest in 26 March 1966. After obtaining a degree in sociology at the University of Trent, he was sent on mission to north east Brazil 1972 where he remained until 1979. That same year he was called to Rome as a member of the Capitular Preparatory Commission in view of the re-unification of the Italian and German branches of the Comboni Missionary Institute and revision of the Constitutions. Between 1979 and 1985 he was Assistant General. In 1986 he was sent back to Brazil, north east. On 2 March 1996 he was ordained a bishop and on 15 April 1998assumed responsibility for the Diocese of Balsas. As a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Brazil he held the following positions: president of CIMI (Conselho Indigenista Missionário) vice-president of the Conference’s Missions Commission. Since 2004 member of CELAM Commission: “Dimensão Missionária de Além - Fronteiras”. He will be remembered by the Comboni as a religious of deep human and spiritual sensitivity, a missionary totally dedicated to the cause of the poor, and an enlightened Bishop deeply committed to helping the local Church become self-standing, always present, in dialogue with all, especially attentive to the situation of the poor and the abandoned, and profoundly missionary open to all continents. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 20/9/2006; righe 20, parole 263)