Luigi Pezzoni, missionary who helped fight leprosy, passes away

The funeral will be held on Friday in Nalgonda, where he founded the Leprosy Health Centre, a nursing home, healing and rehabilitation centre for leprosy patients.

India
Nov 14 2013, 12:51 PM
Luigi Pezzoni, missionary who helped fight leprosy, passes away
Father Luigi Pezzoni.

Father Luigi Pezzoni, founder of the Leprosy Health Centre in Nalgonda, died of natural causes in Hyderabad city of southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday. The 82-year-old missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) had been living in India since 1966.

The funeral will be held on Friday in Nalgonda, where he founded the Leprosy Health Centre, a nursing home, healing and rehabilitation centre for leprosy patients.

Born in 1931 in Palosco in Italy’s Bergamo province, Father Pezzoni joined the PIME seminary in Monza in 1950 and was ordained a priest in 1958. After a missionary service in Italy, he was sent to Indiain 1966.

The Leprosy Health Centre in Nalgonda was established on his initiative in 1973. Over the years, it has grown, with the help of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Valencia. Today, the centre includes a school, a hospital, where 200 leprosy patients are cared for, a textile unit and the colony of Shanti Nagar, where about 100 leprosy-affected live.

Father Pezzoni had extended service to other villages, helping 3,500 children and 5,000 leprosy patients. This year, nearly 5,000 poor children and children of patients received scholarships from the missionary.

Much of the work at Leprosy Health Centre is possible with the support of the Missions Aid Office in the PIME centre in Milan. One of the latest projects launched by Father Pezzoni is the construction of a new hospital for the treatment of AIDS patients. It will house 100 beds and have a day-hospital with assistance and distribution of drugs to the sick.  It will also include a hostel for visiting students or internship. Initiated in 2012, the facility is expected to be completed in 2015.

In one of his last letters in August, Father Pezzoni wrote: "We continue with our service of joy and love to all those who need our help. And that's not all: every evening we recite the Rosary for everyone, so that God may give His help to those who need it most."

Source: AsiaNews

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