CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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Farewell to the missionary of print media

Milan (AsiaNews): A great media missionary of the 20th century, Father Piero Gheddo, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), died on December 20 in Cesano Boscone, near Milan. The missionary of print media, as he was fondly known across the world, was 89-years-old and had worked all his life in the world of communications to spread the gospel. 
 
Father Gheddo was born in 1929 in Italy and joined the PIME in 1945 hoping to become a missionary in India working among non-Christians. He was ordained a priest in 1953 and went on become the editor of missionary magazines, a founder of communications agencies, and an author over 90 books which were translated into 30 languages.
 
Over the years, he had the privilege of working with several future saints of the Church. While he was working for the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, Pope St. John XXIII chose him to be part of the Second Vatican Council in 1963, and he helped to draft To the Nations (Ad Gentes), the council’s decree on missionary work. In the 1990s, Pope St. John Paul II chose him to draft his encyclical, Mission of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Missio).
 
He travelled to India in the 1970s and met St. Teresa of Kolkutta, and his reports helped publicise her work around the world. 
 
Father Gheddo was also a driving force behind the beatification causes of a number of PIME missionaries including Blessed Clemente Vismara, a missionary to Myanmar, and Blessed Mario Vergara, a missionary to Laos. Incidentally, in 2006, the diocese of Vercelli opened a cause for the beatification of his parents, Rosetta Fatheranzi and Giovanni Gheddo. 
 
From 1959 to 1994 he was editor of the monthly magazine Mondo e Missione (World and Mission), which covered global issues and the Christian contribution to development. At a time of great ideological conflict, he combined a clear ecclesial identity with openness and commitment to heal the world’s social wounds. 
 
For years, Father Gheddo contributed to Italian state television (RAI) explaining the Sunday gospel. On RAI radio, he contributed a brief morning message. He also collaborated with Radio Maria and various lay publications like the magazine Gente and the newspaper Il Giornale.
 
He travelled the world as a journalist and media missionary. In Brazil, he became a friend to Archbishop Helder Camara, supporting his work for the poor. 
 
His last missionary trip was to Bangladesh in 2009, when Father Gheddo was 80-years-old. 
 
He worked almost until the end, managing his blog and publishing thoughts and reflections about the mission. May he rest in peace!

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