“You left in silence, almost on tiptoe, without disturbing anyone. Perhaps you wanted to celebrate your Christmas in heaven, the Christmas celebration of Life…” wrote one of the focolarini who had lived with him in a focolare community over the last years in Rocca di Papa.
Born in Vicenza (Italy) on 22 February 1927, he met the Ideal through the group in Pisa in ‘52, where he was studying Medicine. After a few years in Rome, Pescara and Turin, came the turning point of his life: Africa.
This occurred at the start of October 1962, when Chiara Lubich and Don Foresi asked him, and Nicasio Triolo, another focolarino doctor: “Are you ready to leave for Africa?”.
On 11 February 1963 they landed in Cameroon together with Danilo Gioacchin, a vet and Venetian, like Lucio. Life over there was a daily query on the reality around them, in an attitude of crystalline and open respect for the culture of a people that was completely new to them. Wonder, uncertainty, discoveries and deep perceptions of their limits in face of a mystery, but above all always open to the plans of God who would have transformed their experience into a fantastic “love song” that developed simultaneously with the founding of the Movement and the spreading of the Ideal of unity in the black continent. Lucio would have lived that particular time in close contact with Chiara Lubich who later visited Cameroon in ’65, ‘66 and ‘69. Much later, in ‘92 Chiara went to Kenya and again to Fontem (Cameroon), where in the meantime, in 2000 the first Focolare citadel in Africa was built. Lucio was so happy to see that in “a span of 35 years Chiara’s dream had become a reality, that God exists, that love is real, and that mutual love is the secret of happiness; and that all was made possible because Our Lady has embraced us all as a sole family.”
Lucio did not speak much about himself, and he never wanted to show off, or be in the spotlight. But for those who were lucky enough to have known him, Lucio was like a “huge Baobab” tree – as some African friends wrote recently. Numberless echoes have reached us from Africa: “We shall never be grateful enough to him for what he has done for the Work of Mary here in Africa!!!”. “His love for people was infinite, because he saw in each person, Christ, whom Lucio loved with all his heart…”. “We remember above all, his radicalism and sincerity in living the Gospel, a big brother, a true friend who has always walked with us along life’s “holy journey.” “I see an African Mary’ with her arms open wide to welcome this special son of hers, along with many others who have lived, suffered, worked and endlessly loved to bring the ideal of Unity to the lands of Africa. This is not a time of sadness, but of profound thanksgiving to God for the gift of having walked alongside Lucio on this holy journey, and who was our father, elder brother and friend.”
The world of the Gospel Chiara Lubich had given him as a guide and lighthouse for his life was: “”If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” (Mt. 18,12).
“We are praying to him –Maria Voce wrote to the Focolare members –and asking him to help the entire Work of Mary to fulfill the God’s plan “that all may be one.”