By Fr. Lanfranco Fedrigotti, SDB
Hong Kong - Just 5 minutes before the midnight of 16 July, Feast of Our Lady of Carmel, Our Lady has come to take with her the beloved and loving son that was Fr. Ernesto Rescalli. After a difficult night, in the early morning Fr. Ernesto had been brought with urgency to St. Paul’s Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit by his Rector Fr. Joseph Ng Chi Yuen.
The Provincial, informed, goes to visit him. Seeing the seriousness of the situation, he gives him the Anointing of the Sick and the Papal Blessing in articulo mortis, remaining then at his bed-side. At about 5:00 p.m. the Provincial is joined by the newly ordained priest Fr. Joseph Tran Khoi Phung. Together they pray the Rosary and sing holy hymns of faith, hope, and love in Chinese, Latin, and Italian.
Soon they are joined by half a dozen teachers, men and women, of Yuet Wah College in Macau where Fr. Rescalli had served for more than 50 years, until two years ago when he retired to Casa Braga in Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong. They come to see their dear Father for the last time. They join the praying and the singing. Twice they sing the beautiful Yuet Wah College School Anthem. Other friends of Fr. Rescalli keep coming alerted by friendly whatsapps. Among them is Mr. Michael who attended on Fr. Rescalli in his old age for 15 years since 1987.
At about 22:00 hours the Rector, Fr. Joseph Ng Chi Yuen and Fr. Domingos Leong Teng Kok also arrive together with the former head nurse of Casa Braga. We remain at Fr. Ernesto’s bed-side praying and singing until about half-an-hour before midnight. Then, seeing the situation rather stable, we say: “Apparently, Our Lady has decided not come and take him with her”. So we leave, only the Fr. Joseph Ng Chi Yuen remaining for the whole night.
Before we reach home, we receive the phone call of Fr. Joseph Ng Chi Yuen announcing the death of dear Fr. Ernesto Rescalli at about 23:55 hours, Our Lady whom Fr. Rescalli loved so dearly really has come to take his loving and beloved son with her in Heaven.
Rest in peace, dear Fr. Ernesto! On Easter Monday, 6 April this year, the Provincial community had already celebrated, together with centenarian Fr. Gaetano Nicosia, your 102nd Birthday (02-04-1913), your 80th Anniversary of Missionary Life (03-10-1935), your 79th Anniversary of Religious Profession (08-12-1936), your 70th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination (29-01-1945). What an immense amount of divine graces and generous human response behind all these anniversaries! Deo gratias tibique, carissimi Erneste! Thank you for the splendid example of totally dedicated Salesian Priestly Missionary life! From Heaven, please, intercede for us your same faith, hope, and love! Thank you! Writing this with sorrow, consolation, and thanksgiving, we recommend our dear Fr. Ernesto Rescalli to the fraternal prayer of all. Thank you!
"Fr. Ernesto was the most passionate Salesian about catechesis, about catechumen - faith education of the young people I ever met in my life.... His 50 years in Macau, Yuet Wah College were an ongoing story of love for Jesus and for the youth - to bring them closer to Jesus." EAO Regional, Fr. Václav Klement expresses his personal witness on Fr. Ernest Rescalli.
Fr. Ernesto Rescalli's 102nd birthday
Macau - in the community of Yuet Wah College