Nairobi — A requiem mass was held Friday for two Consolata missionaries, an Italian and American, who died in their home countries recently.
Fr Aldo Vettori, 76, died in Treviso, Italy, on February 20, while Fr George Hickey, 64, died in Sommerset, USA, on February 21. The two priests left Kenya this month.
Consolata Regional Superior, Fr Franco Cellana, celebrated the mass, which was attended by members of the religious congregation and lay staff working at the Nairobi Regional House.
Fr Franco said the passing of the two missionaries was an occasion to recall the meaning of the missionary vocation. The missionary is a man or woman of God, dedicated to proclaiming the work of God of truth and life, he said.
The regional superior described Fr Hickey as "a man of order" and of "silence". He also recalled the late missionary's artistic talents.
Fr Vettori, he said, will be remembered for his work in Maralal Diocese, especially his contribution to the search for peace among the sometimes warring Samburu, Turkana and Pokot communities.
Born July 20, 1931, in Treviso, Italy, Fr Vettori worked as a mechanic for a short while, before joining the Consolata Missionaries in 1960. He was ordained December 18, 1965, and appointed to Kenya in 1967. He served first in Sololo in Marsabit Diocese (1967-70), Archers Post (1970-72) and Marsabit (1972-73). He started the mission of Barsaloi in Maralal Diocese (1973-1977) where he ministered until 1982, then moved to Morijo.
There he spent the best of his years giving all of himself to the Samburu people of the area and to the cause of peace, until the beginning of February 2008, when his deteriorating health forced him back to Italy for treatment. He died in the hospital of Treviso from pulmonary hemorrhage. He was buried in Treviso on Saturday 23, 2008.
Fr Hickey was born on August 11, 1943 in Mineola, State of New York, USA. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand (1966-69) he joined the Consolata Institute in 1976, served as a deacon in Colombia (1979-80) and was ordained on September 21, 1980, in Guaduas, Colombia.
He served there until 1984. From 1984 to 2001 he held different positions in the States. At the beginning of 2002 he was appointed to Kenya where he had administrative duties at the Regional House in Nairobi until February 14, 2008 when he was called back to his country. A sudden heart attack caused his untimely death on February 21, 2008. He was buried in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, February 28.