The Verona, Italian city, had been struck with bad weather, placing waterways in danger of overflowing and flooding. On May 17th while in the basement of his home, Giuseppe was swept away by a mass of mud and water that had built up in the Mezzane Stream, causing it to burst its banks. Along with local civil volunteers and law enforcement workers, many members of the Focolare Movement were also among the first to respond in saving Giuseppe and his wife, Maria Grazia. They had both belonged to the Movement for many years.

This immediate and spontaneous response, shoveling and clearing, was also an expression of gratitude towards Giuseppe, who had given himself out of love for his wife and two daughters, for other families, at work and in the parish.

“His was a life (. . .) given in love. We would like to live this moment in the company of God who is a Mystery of Trinitarian Love. We would allow ourselves to be comforted by His Word of truth.” These words were spoken by Bishop of Verona, Giuseppe Zenti during the funeral Mass at the cathedral on May 21st.

On that day the entire region of Lavagno gathered around Giuseppe and his relatives. Bishop Zenti purposely returned from Rome where he had been working for the Bishops Conference, in order to preside at the Mass that was concelebrated by 14 priests, in the presence of the Prefect of Verona, the President of the Province, the Mayor and numerous representatives from Law Enforcement.

Giuseppe was a generous man, full of love,” Bishop Zenti said in his homily, “his family can testify to this, the parish where he helped out especially as a catechist with his wife and in civil society as well. All of you who have come here in such great number can testify to this. The inspiration behind his life given in love was the Focolare family to which he belonged, whose charism is precisely the concrete actualization, in the ordinariness of life, the Lord’s own command: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ I’m here with you,” the bishop continued, I am also enveloped in the dark silence of the soul, like the one that enveloped Jesus on the Cross: The earth grew dark. . . My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Upon this silence let us allow the Word of God to resound, as a lamp that illuminates our steps before this great mystery for man, especially before the great mystery of death.”

In a letter read by the Prefect, President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano expressed his “nearness and affection to the Maschi family who have been hit with such a great loss. With them, also all the citizens of Lavagno who have suffered loss and damage because of the flood that struck the region.” The same sentiments were expressed in the telegram from the President of the Council of Italian Ministers, Enrico Letta.

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