A remarkable testament, from the website Aleteia:
The Rev. Fabrizio De Michino was born in Naples on 8 September 1982. Nearly 3,000 people gathered in Ponticelli to bid him a final farewell at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Snows, where he served as a parochial vicar. Fr. Fabrizio suffered greatly in his last few months, which he lived with great faith and with strength of mind. He always had a smile and words of comfort for his family and friends, who were with him until the very end.
Aleteia is pleased to offer the following letter, which Fr. Fabrizio sent to the Pope shortly before his passing.
To His Holiness, Pope Francis
In the daily prayers that I offer to God, I do not cease to pray for you and the ministry that the Lord himself has entrusted you with, so that you might always have the strength and joy to proclaim the beautiful news of the Gospel.
My name is Fabrizio De Michino, and I am a young priest of the Archdiocese of Naples. I am 31, and have been a priest for five years. I serve in the Archdiocesan Seminary as an educator in diaconal formation as well as in a parish in Ponticelli, located on the outskirts of Naples. The parish, which recalls the miracle that happened on Esquiline Hill, is named in honor of Our Lady of the Snows, and in 2014 it will celebrate the centenary of the coronation of its wooden statue, which dates back to 1500 – an image that is very dear to all the inhabitants of the parish.
Ponticelli is degraded by poverty and high crime, but every day I truly discover the beauty of the Lord’s goodness on those who trust in him and the Blessed Virgin.
I, too, have been able to grow in my love for our Heavenly Mother during my time at this parish, while also experiencing her closeness and protection in the face of my adversities. Unfortunately, over the past three years, I have been fighting a rare disease – a tumor located just inside my heart, which within the past month has metastasized to my liver and spleen. But throughout these difficult years, I have never lost the joy of being a preacher of the Gospel. Even in my fatigue, I perceive a strength that does not come from me, but from God – a strength that allows me to continue on in my ministry. There is a scriptural passage from Ezekiel that accompanies me and instills in me a confidence in the strength of the Lord: “I will give you a new heart; I will place in you a new spirit. I will tear out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ez. 36:26).
Read the rest. And remember this young man in your prayers.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…