A humble man, ready to wash the floors in place of any seminarian, a holy man, who spent his free time in silence before the tabernacle, a man of strong faith that sustained him in his " titanic work " of translating the Bible into Chinese: this is how Card. Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, described the figure of Fr. Gabriele Maria Allegra, who was beatified on September 29 in Acireale (Catania), in the diocese where he took the first steps of his Franciscan vocation.
The ceremony was attended by thousands of faithful. At first it was planned inside the cathedral, but then was moved to the square in front of the building, due to the unexpected large number of participants.
In his homily, after describing the childhood of the blessed, Card. Amato said that "it was in 1928, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the death of Blessed John of Montecorvino (1328-1928), first archbishop of Kambalek (Beijing), when the irresistible vocation to go as a missionary to China first exploded within him.
It was then that the young student of theology first thought of the idea of translating the Bible into Chinese. Given that there was no Catholic version of Holy Scripture in the that language, he proposed to go to China to realize this dream. And so it was. He began this effort alone in Heng Yang on April 11, 1935, he then went to Beijing and concluded in Hong Kong in 1961. This was the great literary enterprise of the Chinese Catholic Church, praised by Catholics and non-Catholics. "
There was also a group from Hong Kong, led by Card. Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of the city where Fr. Allegra lived.
Relics of Bl. Gabriele Alegra [雷永明神父] on display in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Church in Hong Kong, on 4 October 2012
- Report Courtesy: http://www.asianews.it; Photos: Kung Kao Po