Salesian Father Bruno Roccaro Dies at 100, ‘A Living History of the Cuban Church’

Bruno Roccaro was ordained a priest in 1949 and arrived in Cuba when he was 50 years old. (Raúl Ernesto Gutiérrez García)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 November 2020 – The priest Bruno Roccaro died on Tuesday in the city of Santa Clara from cardiac arrest, the Agencia Católica de Informaciones reported. The Salesian missionary, who on July 23 turned 100 years old, had been admitted Monday for a hip fracture.

The Salesians of Cuba Facebook page confirmed the news in a post, echoing a message from Arturo González Amador, Bishop of Santa Clara: “Father Bruno Roccaro has just passed away from cardiac arrest. Rest in the peace of God. Yesterday he was admitted for a hip fracture and waited in very good spirits for tomorrow for surgery. A friend is in heaven!”

Among the many comments of condolences, that of Father Jorge Catasus stands out, who said: “A wise and holy priest. How much do many of we Cuban priests owe him. Together with the venerable Father René David he was one of the saviors of Seminario San Carlos and San Ambrosio, in times of crisis. Thank you for your transparent priestly testimony.”

For the Salesians of Cuba, Roccaro was like the “living history of the Cuban Church” and they emphasized that he evangelized the island for 50 years. “Italian by birth and Cuban by vocation. And one of the creators of the historic Cuban National Ecclesial Meeting/Encuentro Nacional Eclesial Cubano of 1986,” they noted.

During the celebration of his last birthday, the missionary stated, “If I am what I am, what little I have done in my life, I have not done it alone, it is not my work, but that of the many who have helped me, and first of all, God.” He also said that it was necessary to build bridges between the Catholics themselves, adding: “I find it very difficult to think that two people of the religious life cannot agree, that they are enemies, opponents.”

Bruno Roccaro was born on July 23, 1920, in Scorzè, Venecia. He was ordained a priest in 1949, and arrived in Cuba as a missionary at the age of 50.

During his stay on the island he organized study programs in Humanities and Philosophy, in addition to his work for a quarter of a century at the Seminario San Carlos and San Ambrosio in Havana.

“I believe that a missionary in Cuba has to be a happy man, one who has also found the source of his happiness,” the father told Vandor Producciones. “He has to be a courtier, that is, when he sets foot in the territory to which he is destined here in Cuba, he cannot forget the past, but neither is it a thing of nostalgia for him. He has to feel Cuban, he has to love the nation where he is.”

Translated by: Hombre de Paz


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