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By CIN Development Office: 

Formation House, Hong Kong: On April 6th, Monday of Easter Octave, the China Province celebrated the 100th birthday of Fr. Gaetano Nicosia (Born: April 3, 1915) and 102nd birthday of Fr. Ernesto Rescalli (Born: April 2, 1913). Incidentally, these two Italian missionaries also celebrated their 80th anniversary of Missionary Life in CIN.


The birthday and anniversary of missionary life celebrations took place at the Salesian Missionary House. It began with the Holy Mass and ended with the Family agape. Almost a hundred Salesians, Salesian Cooperators and past pupils attended this celebration, thanking God for the presence of our dear Fr. Nicosia and Fr. Rescalli.


During the Holy Mass, Fr. Nicosia expressed his gratitude for God's Providence, emphasizing his nothingness before God. “It is only the grace of God which makes so many things happen in my humble life: opening the orphanage, schools and leprosarium.” This centenarian recalled his experience when his application for the first profession to join the Salesian Congregation was turned down due to health problems and he was asked to extend his novitiate for another 6 months. Then finally, Don Braga accepted him.


The Provincial Superior, Fr. Fedrigotti Lanfranco, affirmed their contributions, quoting from the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, “Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit” (EG 276).


Fr. Lanfranco encouraged everybody to bring the Risen Christ to the needy as we pattern ourselves after Fr. Nicosia and Fr. Rescalli.

During the family agape, Fr. Rescalli sang the traditional hymn “O Maria Ausiliatrice” to conclude this celebration with joy and family spirit.


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