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By CIN SocCom

Hong Kong, China, 07 November 2023 -- 6 November 2023 was the 6th anniversary of the death of revered and dear Fr. Gaetano Nicosia SDB, the Angel of Hansenians and the Father of Poor and Abandoned Children. In Hong Kong and Macau, the places where he lived and worked the longest, Masses were celebrated to pray for his eternal rest and make fond memories of him.

Fr. Gaetano Nicosia was remembered in CIN's Mother House, Instituto Salesiano Macau, on 2 November 2023, in the context of the traditional Requiem Mass for all deceased brothers and sisters of the Salesian Family. Dozens of copies of the Chinese version of his Obituary Letter, written by CIN Provincial Fr. Joseph Ng Chi Yuen, were distributed. As the core of this Obituary Letter, Fr. Provincial chose to present to all his readers the "Brief Notes on My Life", written in the year 2001 by Fr. Gaetano Nicosia in obedience to the order given him by the then CIN Provincial Fr. Savio Hon Tai Fai. At present, there is only the Chinese version of the Obituary Letter. Hopefully, however, the English and Italian versions will soon be distributed to all Provinces in the Salesian world.

The same thing occurred on 6 November 2023, in St. Anthony's Church, Hong Kong, during the 6 p.m. evening daily Mass. Also here, almost 100 copies of the Obituary Letter were distributed. Don Gaetano Nicosia had served as Parish Vicar in this Church for ten years from 1952 to 1962. Parishioners in their eighties and nineties still remember him. By coincidence, at 8 pm in the same St. Anthony's Church, the Vigil Requiem Mass was celebrated for 95-year-old Fr Joseph Lee Hei Lung SDB, who died on 30 October 2023 and who had worked for three years (1959-1962) in St Louis School together with Fr Gaetano Nicosia. Just about three months ago, on 23 July 2023, when asked what he thought of Fr. Gaetano Nicosia, old Fr. Joseph Lee replied with three words: "Low key, holy man, good stuff!"

Similarly, God willing, on Saturday, 18 November 2023, there will be a Requiem Mass in the chapel of the neighboring St Louis School in memory of Fr. Gaetano Nicosia and of all Salesians who served there. St Louis School was where (in the same years 1952-1962) Fr Gaetano Nicosia had worked as a Catechist while at the same time being the Vicar of St Anthony's. For ten years, before he undertook the care of hansenians, he was committed to double full-time work!

During the 6 p.m. Mass in St. Anthony's, the Gospel of the Mass of the day (Monday of the 31st Week of the Year), also by happy coincidence, seemed to be specially tailored to make the memory of Fr. Gaetano Nicosia. In this Gospel, Jesus says: "When you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back means that you are fortunate because repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again" (Luke 14:13-14) Throughout his life Fr. Gaetano Nicosia appears to have taken these words of his beloved Jesus very literally. He did not think they were just a metaphor or a hyperbole. In this respect, the example of Fr. Gaetano Nicosia is a standing call for us to put these challenging words of Jesus into practice.





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