GIUSEPPE ZANINI (priest)
AGE: 88 years old
On Friday, October 24, 2003, in the late afternoon, sometime after 4:00 p.m., Fr. Joseph Zanini brought to a close his journey through this earthly life. He would have celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday on next December 16th. He was born at S. Stefano di Zimella.
He entered our Congregation at Sezano, on September 1, 1927. Guided by exceptional formators, such as Fr. Emilio Recchia, Fr. Godfrey Friedmann, and Fr. Benjamin Miori, he went through the various stages of religious formation from his Novitiate [in 1932], to his perpetual profession, on September 9, 1939. At Udine, he frequented the course of Philosophy and Theology at the Diocesan Seminary and was ordained a Priest on June 9, 1940.
His ministry might briefly be summarized as follows: for the first 20 years, he taught mathematics in our Middle School in Gemona. And then, for some years he also taught at the school conducted by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, also in Gemona. All this while, he also offered his services for the spiritual assistance of these Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
For about another 30 years, he taught mathematics at the Bertoni School in Udine, with much commitment. Throughout this long period of time he also served as Rector of the Church of St. Peter the Martyr. He was most dedicated to teaching school and then, also in the Church, he showed himself to be exemplary in the conduct of his religious life. He acquired the good will and the esteem of all his confreres and also those persons who were drawn to him.
When the Church of St. Peter the Martyr was closed for repairs, some of the faithful who were very close to Fr. Joseph would come every day for services that would be celebrated in our domestic chapel, at 5:30 in the afternoon. From 4:00 p.m. on, Fr. Joseph would make himself available for anyone who might wish to go to confession, or to receive spiritual direction from him.
In the later afternoon of October 24th, it was noted that Fr. Joseph had not been seen by anyone. His absence immediately aroused some concern. Fr. Silvio Tomasi and Fr. Julius Dalmaso went to his room looking for him. Fr. Silvio also went through the various hall ways, and even the park outside. When Fr. Joseph was nowhere found, as a final possibility, it was thought that he might be down in the kitchen as every once in a while he would take a little walk for himself.
And there, they found Fr. Joseph, face down on the floor, in a pool of blood. Traces of his blood were then noted in the nearby corridors as well as in his room. A doctor was called immediately, and he discerned that the reason for his death were natural causes – while the Police, who were also called for this emergency, conduced a careful investigation in the fear that the good priest might have suffered from some violence. The doctor, who also knew him personally, stated that most likely Fr. Joseph had suffered some internal crisis which provoked a very strong haemorrhage. The diagnosis was that the heart was not able to withstand this, from which a possible heart attack followed, with a subsequent pulmonary oedema.
We have all lost a confrere, who with his meekness and goodness, showered serenity and confidence about his person. Now before the Lord, another faithful servant prays for us.
May he rest in peace!