Rev. Fr. Michael Catalano SJ
Fr. Michael Catalano SJ, an Italian missionary in Sri Lanka, was called Eternal Rest in the Lord on 14th Dec. 2009 in Italy at the age of 84 and his mortal remains have been buried in Italy in his home town.
How can I believe you have died and left us forever. I find it so difficult to find words enough to express my praise for you. In my life I have met and known many fine people, I have read about many great men in all walks of life, but I can truthfully say that I have had the greatest fortune, for in all of this crazy world I have met and worked with you.
There are many reasons why I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to share a part of my life with you and learn from your great wisdom. We worked together day and night.People told us we were crazy to work for homeless and unwanted people in this slum area in the south of Colombo. I remember you would always respond by saying ” Yes we are crazy, we love being crazy but we are helping others who have nothing but problems “
Dear Fr Catalano, if I had never met you I don’t know where I would have been in my life, you gave me hope and understanding, you gave me a new life worth living for, you took time to teach me what true life really is, you showed me the joy and reward in helping others, the satisfaction you can get from just making others happy, to see their eyes sparkle.
Not only to me, you gave the same hope and understanding to thousands of others, you did not choose, you walked everywhere among all of your people, drug addicts, elders, children, many of them homeless, young and old, mothers and fathers. To you they were all the same, no one was special you always told them ” You are my people, my brothers and sisters “
I always remember you told us “Please don’t look at their colour, don’t look at their caste, don’t look at who they are or where they come from. Find out what they need, what they want to tell, listen to them, look through the badness and find the goodness, they need help, we must give them help, it is not complicated “
This was your way, you came from another Country, you gave your heart and your life for others. We thank you and praise you for your wonderful work. It is only your tired body that has died, you still live in my heart, I love and think of you every day, I will cherish my memories of you forever.
Sujee-Volunteer at Shanti
Lucia & Franca Catalano Corato Hospital Sujee paying her respects
Cato in dialogue
He was an exceptional man with white hair, gentle and a smiling glance. For a long time he had been the witness of GOD’s love to the Sri Lankan people.
He said: here you can meet Jesus, eye to eye , face to face in the poor,ill or hungry person,drug addict, prostitute or prisoner.
After meeting him in this world, now you can enjoy him in blessed eternity. He is praying to God and praying for all of us.
Thank you dear Father Catalano help me to be like you. I love you and think of you every moment of the day, I cherish my memories of you forever.
With much love-sujee
Father Michael Catalano, our Founder of blessed memory following Gaudium et Spes considered himself sent on mission as a priest to safeguarding human rights, to work towards proper social and economic structures and to create an environment conducive to peace among nations. He had already wept with the shanty dwellers on the banks of the Wellawatte-Dehiwela canals and now, the suffering due to the war of the Internally Displaced Persons[IDPs] brought him to tears. He joined the Food and Agricultural Organization-[FAO] and the Italian Embassy in Sri Lanka in 2006 to work towards the enhancement of livelihood options of 4250 families of IDPs in Jaffna. He was most interested in food processing and food preservation. His missionary zeal drove his spirit to Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu in the North but the security situation in those areas as reported by United Nations High Commission for Refugees- UNHCR, prevented him from bringing to fruition his desires. In 2010, Shanti Community Animation Movement continued this pioneering work of our founder with the IDPs who had now after the war become resettled victims of war and are happy to report to the Presidential Task Force for the North on a monthly basis on the 3W- online format on http://www.jpanp.lk, have our work monitored by the United Nations Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance-UNOCHA and Shanti to be manifested on the United Nations Humanitarian Portal. We believe that our late Founder is in heaven or nirvana shedding tears of joy and happiness that the seeds of love he sowed have borne a rich harvest which is being enjoyed by the victims of war. A heart is changed only when it is in LOVE. Real salvation means change not of the world but of human hearts– Josef Neuner, sj. Hugo of St.Victor used to say: LOVE is the eye! When we look at anything through the eyes of love, we see correctly, understand and properly appropriate its mystery. The reverse is also true. When we look at anything through the eyes that are jaded, cynical, jealous or bitter, we will not see correctly, will not understand and will not properly appropriate its mystery. The Spirit of the Lord leavens the mass of man and elevates the temperature of LOVE in the world–Fr. Michael Catalano sj
LO SPIRITO DEL SIGNORE LIEVITA LA MASSA DEGLI UOMINI
ED ELEVA LA TEMPERATURA DI AMORE CHE RISCALDA IL MONDO
Padre Michele Catalano sj
AT SHANTI WE……
- …are involved with our brothers & sisters IN NEED and we try TO LOVE THEM as our religions tell us. So we TREAT THEM with AFFECTION & DIGNITY
- ….are here NOT TO DOLE OUT or DO THINGS FOR PEOPLE but to share in some way LIFE & SKILLS and ENABLE THEM to take their LEADERSHIP in their own growth
- ….make people HAPPY AND PROUD for MEETING US
- ….even in small things, are committed to the FULL GOAL of PERSONAL, FAMILY & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
- ….work NOT ALONE by ourselves but TOGETHER AS TEAMS and seek COOPERATION with the AUTHORITIES, the LOCAL LEADERSHIP and all the other RELIGIOUS & SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS working in the area
- ….try to win our people’s TRUST by BEING seen as HONEST, SINCERE, RELIABLE and CHEERFUL. We love them and are HAPPY to BE & WORK WITH THEM
- ….have URGENT WORK to do. We do it NOW, IN FULL & WELL.
- …are PROUD for what we do and the WAY WE DO IT, NOT SEEKING OURSELVES OR OUR ADVANTAGE. But we try EVERYDAY to IMPROVE our ability to help and our PERFORMANCE
- ….from the start and all along, strive NOT TO BLUNDER with people lest we lose them. We LISTEN with sympathy rather than LECTURING and teaching them lessons. And we REFUSE TO BLAME, JUDGE and CONDEMN. In our ACCEPTING AND BELIEVING IN THEM, we rescue them
- ….we build on the FOUNDATION OF NOBILITY & SPIRITUALITY bestowed on them by our religions which privilege the POOR IN SPIRIT. We hope and pray that they may TRANSMIT TO THE REST OF US their treasures of FAITH, COURAGE AND CONCERN so that THEY BECOME AGENTS OF GROWTH for the whole of our society
Like the rain and the sun
Poured by the Spirit into a loving heart
Death destroyed forever?
Resurrection! Eternal life!
An unbelievable gift
With unconditional Love from
A God of mercy
La morte ha distrutto per sempre?
Risurrezione! Vita eterna!
Con amore incondizionato da
Un Dio di misericordia