Fr. Luigi Valentini

Julián Carrón’s message for the death of Fr. Luigi Valentini

The priest from Porto San Giorgio (Fermo) met CL in 1965. He was a missionary in Brazil for 40 years, where he created shelters for children in the favelas.
Julián Carrón

Fr. Luigi Valentini, priest from Porto San Giorgio (Fermo), died on 4 March. He was 84 years old. He had met Fr. Giussani and the movement in the sixties. From 1970, he was a missionary in Brazil, first working in a parish on the outskirts of São Paulo, then as a university chaplain. The encounter with the reality of the favelas changed his life. His intuition was to create day care centers for children, left alone by their parents during working hours. His work extended beyond São Paulo, to Belo Horizonte, Salvador de Bahia and Samambaia. The Municipality of São Paulo gave him honorary citizenship in recognition of the educational value of his work.
Julián Carrón wanted to write this message to his friends in both Italy and Brazil.

Dearest friends,

Fr. Luigi Valentini’s long history within the great companionship of the movement, in the Marche (Italy) and in Brazil, is a sign of his fidelity, in front of God, to his encounter with Fr. Giussani, who revolutionized his life. It is, above all, the sign of God’s loyalty towards him; I heard him say this at the Priests' Exercises in 2008, when he spoke of the "wonder that, recently, has awoken in me at how faithful the Lord is; faithful even when one forgets him. I met the movement in 1965. In 1967, living the life of the movement, in a mysterious way ˗ I still cannot explain it- I found myself taking a trip to Brazil". Some time later, he returned there as a missionary and stayed there for many years, giving life to and supporting many educational works.

Back in Porto San Giorgio, during the summer of 2008, he received a visit from Cleuza and Marcos Zerbini ˗ our great friends from São Paulo ˗, who during a meeting with the community said: "You do not know what treasure you have found by having met the movement". Fr. Luigi recalled that the next day, thinking back to that meeting, he said to himself: "Look how faithful God is!".

Therefore, at this time˗ although marked by the pain of detachment ˗ it is gratitude that fills the heart before the wonders that the Father works in the lives of those who yield to the attraction of Christ. I believe that the words that Fr. Giussani spoke in Saint Peter's Square on 30 May 1998 are also valid for Fr. Luigi: "Thus for me the grace of Jesus, in so far as I have been able to adhere to the encounter with Him and communicate Him to the brothers in God’s Church, has become the experience of a faith that in the Holy Church, that is to say the Christian People, revealed itself as a call and a desire to feed a new Israel of God [...] What could have seemed at most to be an individual experience was becoming a protagonist in history, and so an instrument of the mission of the one People of God”.

We are called to this mission – each of us personally and all of us together. We ask for the simplicity of our friend who has reached the goal of his journey, to be amazed constantly before the signs of God’s faithfulness in our lives, so that His presence in the world may shine upon our faces.