35 years ago the killing of father Egidio Ferracin

35 years after the death of Fr. Egidio Ferracin, a Combonian originally from Marano killed in Uganda on 4 August 1987, the memory is still very strong. He is strong among family members both those who have known him and those who, because they are too young, have discovered him from the stories. He is strong in the Marano community and, obviously, among the confreres.

Don Davide Zanoni, born in 1989, parish vicar of the UP Arzignano center, was not yet born when his uncle was killed, but his memory is still alive. “Since childhood they told me about him,” he points out. However, the story of the missionary uncle did not influence him in his vocational choice, but “he is always in the background, always present. He helped me in more than a few moments knowing that he too had to face difficulties to become a priest and a missionary ». Of father Egidio he remembers in particular «the ability to balance his great joy and then his great spiritual depth. Let’s say that he had his feet firmly planted on the ground and his gaze turned towards the sky ». A figure like that of Fr. Ferracin today – according to Don Davide – invites us «not to lose hope. He found himself in complicated situations and suffered seeing a lot of violence and yet he went forward with great trust in the Lord ». “The uncle – he concludes – did not do extraordinary things, he lived everyday life, with a style completely of his own that made everything else extraordinary”.

“Egidio lived his vocation to the full, he loved Uganda, the” moretti “, as he called them” he says Carlo Toniolo, one of the grandchildren who knew him. «The uncle – he continues – came back every 5 or 3 years – and so we his nephews who were little did not attend him very much. Fortunately, the diaries, letters and testimonies of the confreres remain ». Carlo Tonilo emphasizes its spirituality. “He was certainly Father Cin Cin, Father Gioia, but he was also characterized by his recollection in prayer and contemplation”. “P. Egidio wrote – recalls his nephew -: “I entrust myself to him and I feel that only in this way can I continue and get up; smile, or at least make an effort to do so, even when wounded pride is boiling inside or I am burning with pain ”».

“His great gaiety brought light wherever he went – he adds Paolo Campese the other nephew of Fr. Ferracin – It was a joy, however, not for those who are carefree, but the result of so much prayer ». Another characteristic that Paul remembers is generosity. “He was so generous that he almost forgot himself. When he came home he was like a hippy arriving. He no longer had the clothes of his that he had given to someone, so he could have red pants with improbable shirts ». And he still remembers «the strength of mind in the face of abuse and violence against the weak. He could not bear violence against the weak and this led to martyrdom ».Fr. Giuseppe Caramazza, Combonian, was editor of Nigrizia when Fr. Egidio was killed. “He was a simple and humble person – he remembers – and he was really dedicated to the population.” While he was in Uganda there was great violence and a lack of security. His characteristic was «the closeness to the people who knew and appreciated him. He spoke the local language and was willing to visit the various communities in the area ». They remember where he was. “Where he was killed they built a small shrine where people go to pray. In the parish of Alenga, the day of his martyrdom is considered an important day in which children are baptized ».
«There are about thirty Comboni martyrs and Fr. Egidio is one of these – concludes Fr. Joseph -. They are the testimony that in some way our institute does his work ».

Also in Marano the link with Fr. Egidio remains strong. There are many people who spontaneously tell little things about Fr. Ferracin. When he came home, he always went to see someone, simply and “wandered around.” by bike for Marano and was called Father Sorriso ». «If he went into a house and saw something that could serve his mission he would ask: ‘If you don’t need it, can you give it to me?’ «This explains the affection that there is towards this missionary – he highlights Maria Teresa Sartore, librarian, involved in organizing the event in memory of Fr. Egidio – which is also mentioned in one of the two tombstones that you meet when you arrive at the church ».

35 years ago the killing of father Egidio Ferracin – La Voce dei Berici