Bishop Moses Costa
8 December 2005
Dinajpur - Bangladesh
Mass for deceased Father Paolo Poggi, PIME
God graciously sent Father Paolo Poggi among us as a missionary and as a great friend. The Lord gave him to us and the Lord has taken him back. We had a great hope that he would return to Dinajpur (Thakurgaon) to continue his mission and prayerful presence among us. But the Lordís was different than ours. We humbly accept Godís will for him and us.
Two hours from now his funeral will take place in Italy. We pray in this Mass that he receives eternal peace. We pray for all his relatives who mourn his death. We express our deepest condolences to them. We also express our condolences to PIME Fathers and Brothers with whom he lived and spent his life for this diocese.
(Readings: 2 Mac 12:43-46; John 11:32:45)
Todayís both readings present to us a truth that one day we will be resurrected. But before resurrection we will have to die. Jesus is the Lord of our life. That the dead be completely pardoned, it is our holy duty to pray and offer sacrifice. Valiant Judas collected some money and sent it to Jerusalem to arrange offering of sacrifice that those who died in the war would be pardoned for their sin. This evening we are gathered together to offer sacrifice for pardon of our dear Father Paolo. This is the sacrifice that Jesus did by offering his own life on the cross for the salvation of the world. Father Paolo offered this same sacrifice many times for the salvation of many people.
However, we are not gathered to offer only sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin of Father Paolo. We have come also to thank the Lord for the gift of Father Paolo. Almost all his priestly life is spent in serving the poor and needy and providing spiritual food to many. We are sure that God has granted reward for this nice work.
We can remember Father Paolo and learn something from his life. During the past ten years I have seen:
That his life was a life of prayer: When doing my pastoral visitation in Thakurgaon I noticed that very early in the morning he was praying in the church. I saw that after lunch he had very little rest and then went to the church to pray. Often I saw a rosary in his hand. And he prayed consciously in front of Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament.
When he celebrated Mass he looked pure and holy. The main work of a priest is to pray for him and others. Father Paolo did this with utmost fidelity.
That Father Paolo was a kind father: Suffering of people was unbearable to him. For many people he arranged medical treatment, education and housing and helped them get established in life. This help he did in secret that the word of Jesus gets fulfilled: "If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you." Father Paolo has surely been rewarded for his charitable work.
That Father Paolo was a spiritual director to many, particularly to the Sisters: Many received direction of life from him. Many received courage and strength to bear daily cross as Jesus invites every Christian.
That Father Paolo was man of peace: He never liked any dispute or complications. For the sake of peace he often abandoned his personal interests. This way he gave preference to peace of others.
That Father Paolo was a happy and sincere missionary: For 46 years he worked in Bangladesh with sincerity. Except his regular vacation every 3rd or 5th year he was not willing to go home. Even when got sick he was unwilling to go home for better medical care. This was he always wanted to remain the people as one of them.
We may learn many things from his life. In this Mass we thank the Lord for the gift of his ideal life. We pray that the Lord will pardon his sins if there is any and give him eternal rest in heaven.
We pray for his brother priest Father Antonio and his sister and all his relatives. May they receive divine consolation and peace.
We pray for all his confreres Ė PIME Fathers and Brothers Ė that they get needed strength in this time of great sorrows.
And we pray for ourselves that we receive Lordís inspiration to remain faithful in our prayers and in our service to the poor and needy. Amen.