Padre Felice Centis ethòMar 11th, 2012 | By admin | Category: News
This morning, 10 March 2012, we received a phone call from Angal by Fr.Mario Zecca and immediately after Fr.Gino Stocchero email, saying:
“Dearest Mario e Claudia, I give you the news that the Lord has called to himself silently Fr.Centis at 2.30 this morning. Let us remember him in our prayers. The Funeral will be Monday at 10 am. Fr.Gino”
Father Felice Centis, was a Comboni Father, 92 years old, would have turned 93 next month. In his long missionary life he had held various tasks in Italy and U.K. for the headquarters of the Comboni Institution, but his heart was in Africa, in Uganda, where he arrived in 1967 and remained there almost continuously until this morning. Among the rest, he dedicated himself to the translation of the Holy Bible and the Missal in Alùr, a demanding task which kept him occupied for years.
Last September, after a period of treatment in Italy, his desire was to fly back to Uganda to complete his mission among the Alur, and such he did.
At the news of his death, after an initial feeling of dismay, this is the thought that comforted us: that he died among the people to whom he dedicated his life, as he had always desired. Father Felice will be remembered with gratitude by all who had the good chance to know him and will be missed a lot by the people of Angal and those who, doctors and friends, will return to Angal.
Betty and Italo Nessi will miss him. They write:
“We will miss Fr. Felice very much, we loved him and we were loved back.
At least, even after some hard times, he has fulfilled his desire to die in Angal.”
Giovanni Cardellino: I, Christian tarnished, subversive, a sinner. I appreciated him in the
rare gift of knowing how to combine the moral rigor with great humanity. He was a reference point in my travels to Angal. I will miss him.
Francesca and Luca Sarti: “We are really grateful to the Lord for the example of a Christian life completely dedicated to the latest, that Francesca, Giacomo, Cecilia and me have received from Fr. Centis.
We will always remember him going through the backyard of our Angal house heading to the Rosary at the hospital, always timely loyal and indefatigable.”
Enrico Tagliaferri: I shall remember him for his quiet strength, which he was able to transmit to others, for his being above the little unimportant things, for his ability to say important things in simple terms.
Rita Polo: …At once, when speaking with Fr.Felice, you could understand how helpful and willing he was, his intelligence, moral integrity always ahead … He wanted to stay with his Comboni family till the last moment, amongst the last and the forgotten people of the world. And he remained there as if he was the voice of God himself, always telling them in their own language the same good news had that changed his life, spoken and written on paper and especially in the hearts, indelibly.
Arianna Bortolani from Wolisso, Etiopia: …his desire was to stend his very last moments in Uganda, close to the people he had served for all those years…
I’m with you in the remembrance and in the prayer.
Marta Lunardi, writes: I saw Father Felice for the first time along the pathways of the Hospital… he was bent over his book, tired and pale and 5-6 people were around him kneeling to pray humbly. That image looked to me so much like the idea I had about missionaries since when I was a child: stubborn, mild, firm in their convictions, generous about their lives
Licia Scantamburlo: Father Centis in my memory is one who has always represented Angal and the image I have of him is about the importance of being among people, even in silence, in order to really share with them.
Antonella Benigna, grandson of Father Enrico Colleoni: but he seemed a man at peace with himself, devoted to his mission and to that land … In short, a “happy” man in name and fact. Everyone in Angal will miss him, but I hope that he may now be in place where he will be able perhaps to do even more for the people of Uganda.
Mauro ed Enrica Baroni: We pray gratefully for Father Centis, an example to us of the simple and enlighted life to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To him our love
Giorgio Rodolfi (solarman) I would like to express … how much I appreciated this holy man who has dedicated his life to the work he felt himself committed after long and careful preparation! He lived as long as he could, with incomparable sense of duty, with the obstinacy of the certainty that his own existence was necessary to contribute to the development of good …
Fr.Enrico Colleoni: Fr. Felice passing was certainly not unexpected, given his old age. However, as it always happens to a loved person within his family, his passing leaves us with a sense of emptiness, as if something in our lives, in our history, suddenly starts to be missing. I saw him last time before Christmas last year during my brief visit to Angal: once again I was impressed by his strong will to do, to help, not to feel as a burden. That afternoon there were confessions for Christmas and the church was packed with people. Well, I was surprised as Fr. Felice stayed for nearly three long hours to confess people. After the Mass he shared with me what he was feeling at that moment: a sense of loneliness, the human need for attention to his person, feeling almost at the end of his journey … he was so tender. I wanted to hug him and make him feel all the human warmth that a person of his age needed, or rather, had the right to feel.
I was also happy and blessed that I could share with him several years of missionary life in the community. Even if he arrived to the mission when he was 48 (an age at which most people are already thinking of retiring!), he jumped with such enthusiasm in his missionary work, and with a youthful spirit that he took with him until yesterday, despite his fragile health. He leaves us a wonderful memory, as well as all the work of Bible translation and the Missal in Alur, his human and spiritual gifts: his permanent smile, the peace that was able to convey, his wisdom, insight, deep faith lived in simplicity and humility.
I think that anyone of us – and we are many – that met him, was touched by him. We want to make treasure of this experience so that those gifts he left us can continue in us and through us.
Emanuele Giaccari: Goodbye Father Felice, I was perhaps your last friend, but I felt it as if it was a deep friendship as everyone else. You have given me a lot in a short time, but in return you never asked for anything … only a glass of water. You are a great person and if I will be able to find the strength and courage I will always try to inspire my life to your greatness. I will miss you… father Centis
Matteo Traversone: I just learned the sad news!
Dear Felice, I like to remember you like this: Sitting in front of the door to your room one afternoon in early January, you told me about your being a missionary in time, giving me great serenity and strength!
Goodbye Felice, and thank you!
Fabrizio Mion: Lord’s will for him was to die on the land of Uganda, and such it happened. Although a little sad not to have him here, along with the other members of the family who passed, we believe it is better like this, and I think it was his own will. For all of us his coming over to our house was always regarded as a blessing from God and we felt previleged for hosting him and enjoying his presence in our family.
To these photos, showing him during one of the annual gatherings of our Association, the Angal Day, we entrust his memory.
(*) ethò = he died (Alùr)