Priest killed: devoted to homeless and immigrants

priest killed

Pope Francis has paid tribute to an Italian priest killed by an immigrant suffering from mental illness.

Father Roberto Malgesini, 51, who cared for immigrants and other needy people in the northern city of Como, had been stabbed to death.

A Tunisian immigrant, who police said was mentally ill, turned himself in to authorities.

The man was known to Malgesini, who had let him sleep in a room for the homeless run by the parish.

The morning Malgesini was killed, he was expected at a breakfast for the homeless.

In 2019, he was fined by local police for feeding people living under the portico of a former church.

A diocesan statement said “in the face of this tragedy, the Church of Como is clinging to prayer for its priest Fr. Roberto and for the person who struck him to death.”

The local newspaper quoted a volunteer who worked with Malgesini, as saying “he was a person who lived the Gospel daily, in every moment of the day. An exceptional expression of our community.”

Fr. Andrea Messaggi said: “Roberto was a simple person. He just wanted to be a priest and years ago he made this wish explicit to the former bishop of Como.”

“For this he was sent to St. Rocco, where every morning he brought hot breakfasts to the least of us. Here everyone knew him, they all loved him.”

Roberto Bernasconi, director of the diocesan branch of Caritas, says Malgesini was “a meek person.”

“He devoted his whole life to the least, he was aware of the risks he ran,” Bernasconi said.

“The city and the world did not understand his mission.”

Pope Francis on Wednesday also paid tribute to the priest.

Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience, Francis said Malgesini was killed “by a needy person who he was helping, a person who was mentally ill”.

Francis praised the “martyrdom of this witness of charity towards the most poor (and) all the priests, nuns, laymen and laywomen who work with needy people who are discarded by society.”

He then asked the audience of about 500 people in a Vatican courtyard to observe a minute of silent prayer for Malgesini.

Meanwhile, a far-right politician Matteo Salvini called for a “vendetta.”



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