Revered Italian missionary dies of Covid-19 in Lahore after serving Pakistan for 6 decades

Published May 3, 2021
Father Aldino Amato at Our Lady of Mercy parish house in Okara in December 2017. — Photo courtesy: Kamran Chaudhry/UCA News
Father Aldino Amato at Our Lady of Mercy parish house in Okara in December 2017. — Photo courtesy: Kamran Chaudhry/UCA News

Aldino Amato, a respected Italian-born Dominican priest, died after contracting the coronavirus at a hospital in Lahore, the UCA News (Union of Catholic Asian News) portal reported on Monday.

The 90-year-old priest was laid to rest in a grave he built for himself in the compound of Our Lady of Mercy parish house in Punjab's Okara 6 Chak village.

An education and development pioneer, Amato served Pakistan for nearly six decades.

Amato, the last foreign missionary of the Faisalabad Diocese, passed away on May 1 in Lahore, where he was put on a ventilator for 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19.

During his funeral, hundreds of faithful showered petals on his coffin but only Dominican friars were allowed to shoulder him, according to UCA News.

More than 20 priests concelebrated the funeral Mass with Bishop Indrias Rehmat of Faisalabad at the girls' college Amato built in the Okara village. Condolences were also conveyed by members of the Catholic community as well as Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, the apostolic nuncio to Pakistan.

After arriving in Pakistan as a missionary in 1962, Amato built six churches, three schools and hostels, two training centres for the visually impaired, two housing colonies, and a women's college.

He was revered for having spent funds in remote areas and turning them into settlements, and helping the poor irrespective of their faith. He also installed tube wells and provided skills training to children in his hotel.

Bishop Rehmat said Amato “shared to the full our sorrows and joys, and his death here in Pakistan was a testament to the commitment with which he gave his whole life to our people”, according to AsiaNews.it.

Pakistan is struggling to contain a third wave of coronavirus infections, with more than 800,000 cases and 18,000 deaths declared and only a fraction of the population having been vaccinated.

Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar on Sunday said the next two weeks are “critical”, as health authorities rushed to increase intensive care capacity.

Opinion

Eid and money
Updated 13 May 2021

Eid and money

Why is a thing more real when you can touch, taste or feel it as opposed to something that is only experienced?
On whose side?
13 May 2021

On whose side?

Ambassadors strive to ‘well-serve’ their country.

Editorial

Eid during Covid
Updated 13 May 2021

Eid during Covid

It is indisputable that our actions now will prevent matters from becoming far worse.
13 May 2021

Foreign policy gaffes

MIXED messages, retractions and clarifications from the government have become an all-too-common occurrence when it...
13 May 2021

Zimbabwe series win

PAKISTAN’S crushing innings victories over Zimbabwe in the two Tests were a befitting end to their highly...
PM’s Saudi visit
Updated 12 May 2021

PM’s Saudi visit

It is very important that Pakistan take no step, or agree to any demand, that can have an adverse effect on national sovereignty.
12 May 2021

A new intifada?

THE situation in the occupied territories over the past few days has been incendiary, with tensions boiling over as...
Updated 12 May 2021

SOP violations

ON Monday, Sindh Police officials were given a well-deserved slap on the wrist by a judicial magistrate in Karachi...