RIP Bishop Angelo Moreschi the 1st Catholic Bishop to Die of the Coronavirus, Former Missionary in Africa

AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Mgr. Angelo Moreschi, Apostolic Vicar of Gambella has died due to Covid-19: a life for the mission in Africa
Friday, 27 March 2020

Brescia (Agenzia Fides) - The Apostolic Vicar of Gambella (Ethiopia), Mgr. Angelo Moreschi, SDB, died in the night between 24 and 25 March, in Brescia (Italy), due to the coronavirus infection. He was a guest at the Salesian institute of Nave, his hometown, due to health problems that had forced him to leave his beloved African missions, to which he always hoped to be able to return. Unfortunately, the situation worsened in recent days due to the coronavirus, and his hospitalization was necessary, where he died.
"His love and service for the poor and for social justice are a lasting legacy and inspiration for all of us", says to Fides Abba Joseph Mullugeta, priest of the Apostolic Vicariate of Gambella. His missionary adventure in Ethiopia began in Dilla, where he arrived in 1983 and where the Salesians began the mission founded in 1973 by the Comboni Missionaries. Many new initiatives were promoted: a secondary school, vocational school, an orphanage. In addition, Father Angelo developed a large agricultural project. "However, his greatest commitment was the pastoral one, as a parish priest", underlines the priest, recalling that he built numerous chapels especially in the surroundings and in the mountainous area, which increased the number of catechumens and the faithful.
In 2000 he was appointed the first apostolic Prefect of Gambella, and nine years later apostolic Vicar. "Since his arrival in Gambella, he devoted all his time and all his energies to serving the population of Gambella, without distinction of race, religion, culture and age. He dedicated his whole life to the mission. This allowed the Catholic Church to establish a good number of parishes and chapels in the region. He worked hard in pastoral and social development programs", recalls Abba Joseph Mullugeta, who then quotes the then Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Silvano Maria Tomasi:" The arrival of Father Moreschi marked the transformation of the Catholic Church in Gambella, according to a precise methodology: impulse to agriculture and food production, village development and first evangelization". A social priority was then to develop projects to ensure water for the population. "We thank him - concludes the priest - for his service to the holy people of God and for his fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, rest in peace!"
Angelo Moreschi was born in Nave (Brescia) on June 13, 1952. He made his first religious vows among the Salesians on September 1, 1974, his perpetual vows in Cremisan (Israel), on August 15, 1980. He was ordained a priest on October 2, 1982 in Brescia. He left as a missionary for Ethiopia in 1983, he was parish priest and Director in Dilla, Provincial Councilor for the then Salesian Vice Province of Africa Ethiopia-Eritrea. On November 16, 2000 he was appointed the first Apostolic Prefect of Gambella. On December 5, 2009 the Prefecture was elevated to Vicariate and he was appointed first Apostolic Vicar of Gambella, received episcopal consecration on January 31, 2010.
Ans Salesian Agency recalls that in during his mission Mgr. Moreschi continued to embody the Salesian preference for the little ones, accompanying them with a practical spirit and strong apostolic zeal. On his visits to the villages he arrived with a battered off-road vehicle - or by motorboat, in the communities along the Baro river, when the streets were flooded - and immediately began to distribute multivitamin biscuits to malnourished children. (AP/SL) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 27/3/2020) Image Source: