HOW IT WAS…
March 17, 1962. It was the Saturday before Passion Sunday and a traditional day to hold ordinations to the priesthood. A number of candidates crowded the altar of the beautiful church of the Immaculata on the grounds of the University of San Diego.
For the first time, there were Comboni students among the candidates. We stood in alphabetical order: myself; Dino Chiavegato who later chose a different path; Caesar Mazzolari, who would later become the bishop of Rumbek; Peter Premarini, currently in Covina, Calif.
The church was packed with family, friends and fellow parishioners of the local candidates. It was different for us, Comboni Missionaries, because our families were back in Italy and we had not seen them in over five years. Fr. Gabriel Chiodi, our superior, had been able to organize a number of newly found friends who showered their missionary concern, love and in time lasting friendship on each of us.
My parents had to wait until June 21 when I was able to celebrate Mass in my own parish in Italy and give them Holy Communion.
March 17, 1962 marked the beginning of a great adventure in the typical all-or-nothing Comboni way. Gladly, it isn’t over yet.