Fr. Roberto Malgesini, the "priest of the least", stabbed to death in the street: a homeless person arrested, in Italy. (Tuesday, September 15, 2020)
A 51-year-old priest, Fr Roberto Malgesini, well known in Como, Italy for his commitment to the side of the marginalized, was stabbed to death on Tuesday morning shortly after 7 in Piazza San Rocco, not far from the parish. The alleged responsible, a 53-year-old Tunisian, showed up at the police station at around 8 am and surrendered himself. He was a person Fr Roberto knew, a homeless man to whom he provided assistance and with whom he apparently was also on good terms. "He had mental problems and deportation measures not carried out since 2015," said the director of Caritas of Como, Roberto Bernasconi. The Police Headquarters does not confirm the psychological problems: "It does not appear either from the medical documentation concerning him or from the checks with the social services". An expulsion order dated 8 April and "suspended" due to the Covid situation hangs on him. The 53-year-old arrived in Italy in 1993 and married an Italian three years later. He was questioned after being treated in hospital for a wound he got during the attack.
Fr. Roberto, originally from Morbegno, in the province of Sondrio, was hit by various stab wounds, the lethal one in the neck: the body was about twenty meters from the car, where there is a small clearing where immigrants are usually found . Some passersby who noticed the body on the ground called for help, but unfortunately he was already dead.
Fr. Roberto Malgesini had long been at the forefront of assisting the homeless, foreigners and the marginalized. He was the coordinator of a group of volunteers from Como who every day bring breakfast to the homeless and migrants, and assisted all situations of marginalization. He lived in the parish of Saint Rocco, a few steps from where he was stabbed. "He was a meek person, he devoted his whole life to the least, he was aware of the risks of his mission," says the Caritas manager.
The bishop of Como, Monsignor Oscar Cantoni, shortly after learning of the priest's death arrived in Piazza Saint Rocco and blessed the body before it was taken away by the funeral services. Monsignor Cantoni expressed "profound pain and disorientation for what happened", but also "pride in this priest of ours, who has always worked in the field to give his life for the least". "Fr Roberto was a saint next door, for the simplicity and kindness with which he went to meet everyone, meeting the esteem of many people, even non-believers," the bishop later recalled in a video on Facebook.
At the scene of the crime, a few meters from the entrance to the church of San Rocco, a crowd of faithful, parishioners and immigrants soon formed, many in tears. "Where is Father? No, it can't be him. ' «This evening at 8.30 pm in the cathedral the bishop will guide the Holy Rosary - reads a note from the Diocese of Como -. In the face of the tragedy, the church of Como clings in prayer for its priest Fr. Roberto and for those who killed him ».
The mayor of Como Mario Landriscina has announced that he will proclaim city mourning. At the end of last year, the center-right junta led by Landriscina had banned the distribution of food to the poor, amid the protests of Caritas, but Fr Roberto and other volunteers had continued to feed them: on that occasion the local police had inflicted on them a fine, then filed. "He hadn't reacted - remember those close to him - no comments or interviews".
Edited from a Post by Milano.corriere.it - Image Source: Screen Shot