Fr. Giuseppe Bentivoglio

Fr. Benuccio, from Giulianova to Switzerland

Giuseppe Bentivoglio died on April 8. He had left Varese, he had nurtured the movement in Giulianova, and then landed in the Canton of Ticino. In his spiritual will: "Like a weaned child is my soul within me.” The memory of a friend.

On Wednesday April 8, Fr. Giuseppe Bentivoglio, known as "Benuccio", died. He moved from Varese at the beginning of the Seventies and literally made the experience of the movement explode not only in Giulianova, where he was deputy parish priest, but in a large area of Abruzzo, and in the nearest towns in the Marche region. He influenced not only hundreds of young people, but often their families as well. Parents were greatly amazed before the enthusiastic adherence and change in their children, who, in many cases, has abandoned faith because they considered it useless.

Benuccio was a simple man, he gave his whole life to the young people he met and whom he guided towards maturity, in faith and in life. I was among the first young people who met him after his arrival in Giulianova. Most of us were high school students and, as we gradually graduated, he urged us to continue studying at university, even though he would have “lost” us because he saw us leaving for the big cities; and in many cases these were definitive departures. He cared so much about our human maturity that, even at the cost of "losing us", he wanted us to become mature adults. So many adults owe their established professional careers to his broad outlook and his passion for their maturity.

Then from Abruzzo to Switzerland, where he was parish priest in a village near Lugano for over thirty years. Fr. Benuccio was a man with a clear intelligence of faith, with a strong, impetuous, sometimes overwhelming character, but he had a strength that was never presumptuous or arrogant: it was only filled with the overflowing impetus for the beauty and greatness of what had conquered him. For us, Benuccio was an extraordinary example of how a man's "yes" to Christ is the means by which Christ himself can win the hearts and lives of many.

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A "yes" said unto his last breath, as his spiritual testament testifies: "I commend my soul to the prayers of all, I ask forgiveness for any offenses that I may have caused, I beg for God's mercy that He may forgive my many sins and I thank Him for the gift of faith and priesthood. I die in the greatest serenity and in the greatest peace because I know that the Lord loves me and I love Him too, despite my misery, my inconsistencies and contradictions. I entrust myself to Him, making the words of the Psalm my own: "I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” For this reason, I wish for the passage from chapter 21 of the Gospel of St. John, from verse 15 to verse 22, be read at my funeral. I owe immense gratitude to the movement: through which I was able to meet and follow Christ."

Dear Benuccio, continue to look at us from heaven as you looked at us and guided us as young people with your ironic, benevolent, wise and merciful fatherhood, which today, as adult men and women, we would like, in turn, to offer to all our brothers and sisters.

Claudio, Giulianova, Italy