We publish the text of the Eulogy pronounced by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo in Parma, Italy on October 28th during the Mass in memory of his friend Giuseppe Malpeli.
Dear Friends, Greetings.
Today we have gathered here to remember our great friend Giuseppe Malpeli. We have on so many occasions broken the word and broken the bread around the same altar.
Today we gather today in his memory. I am grateful to all of you, who shared his mission, all the relatives and friends.
To me it is a moment of personal sadness. I still remember his smile, laughter and his great enthusiasm for Burma. He brought light where he entered. I remember the last time when he came with a big team, he filled the room with a vibrant laughter. Little did I imagine my meeting him Rome would be the last one.
We have gathered here today to mourn his loss. I have come not to preach an eulogy of mourning. I have come to preach an eulogy of Gratitude.
David Brooks, the New York Columnist, wrote a moving piece in which he says: Within each of us are two selves, the self who craves success, who builds a resume, and the self who seeks connection, community, love – the values that make for a great eulogy.
I have come to preach that eulogy of virtue of a simple man, who tried to elevate his fragile humanity to call of God. Luke 16:10 says “you can be trusted more when you can be trusted in small things” Giuseppe live a life, faithful to his calling as human being. We are here to be grateful for what he has been.
Giuseppe came across to me a friend of immense compassion. His love for Burma brought many people to from Italy to see the face of Burma. For sixty years, the face of Burma was the face of Christ on the way of the cross, the face of Christ Veronica encountered in the fourth station of the cross. The face tortured and bloodied by the cruel state. Veronica wipes that face. Tradition records how a humble peasant girl mustered enough courage to penetrate the evil guards of Roman empire to reach out to the face and tears of an innocent victim.
Giuseppe was that Veronica to us. Giuseppe was the Simeon of Cyronne.
We the people of Burma had a long way of the Cross. 50 years. 50 long years. The cross of slavery, the cross of oppression, the cross of discrimination, the cross of starvation, the cross of unsafe migration.
But Giuseppe is gone to his eternal Easter. The Good Samaritan has ended his mission of mercy. He has returned to his Father. The Lazar from Italy is sitting on the lap of Abraham continuing to advocate for the poor of this world.
With Mary he sings his Magnificat: The Lord has done marvels for me. Glorify his name.
As he looks down today to my Country, Giuseppe would be more happy than sad. He has seen our shackles taken away- we have more freedom, more communication, more political activity, our country is moving away from decades of decay.
Giuseppe will be happy to see that 21st century Panglong conference for peace is taking place. He will be happy that more Myanmar youth are given opportunity for studies. He would have clapped and celebrated that this country had a peaceful election. He would have jumped at the sight of Daw Aung Saw Suu Kyi sharing dais with world leaders. He would have thanked the Lord that some of these things are sheer miracles in a country he saw in roller coaster poverty and oppression.
The whole country was journey on the mount of Calvary, never knowing that Good Friday would end.
In those long nights of silent tears, gallant men and women animated by compassion and raw courage reached out to us. Like Veronica, like Simone the Cyronne, they accompanied us.
And Giuseppe was one of them. The special one. He was a faithful companion to us. Faithful companion to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi our leader when she was incarcerated in inhuman prison. In Italy he was instrumental in forming a group of MPs for Burma.
Travel to Burma was a risk those days, meeting the opposition people was a risk, meeting church people was a risk.
Yet Giuseppe, like the innocent Veronica, was not cowed down by fear. He walked with us. He believed that he who witnessed our people’s Good Friday would witness our Easter.
We as a nation are in the Easter morning.
As a lifelong teacher, he would have rejoiced at the greater attention to elementary schools and appointment of teachers, better educational systems.
He will continue to be concerned, however, on many other matters.
He would have wept at the sight of numerous IDP camps in Rakhine and in Kachin lands. His tender heart would have gone for women and children condemned to starvation while the army and armed groups are waging a war.
He will stand at the foot of the cross of our youth. Our youth especially in northern states are crucified with five wounds: war and displacement, drug, human trafficking, looting of resources by outsiders and the last wound is uncertain future. He would have wept at the sight of girls from poor families bought and sold as commodities in the border.
He would have been concerned about the on-going activities against the Muslim Rohingyas. He would have urged the parliamentarians to pay greater attention to peace and reconciliation in this country. He would have been shocked by the emergence of violent fringe of monks, the 969 mad monks and the Ma Ba Tha violent people.
He would have been shocked that the new government is going slow in getting the refugees back to the country and lack of adequate facilities in the camps. As a Catholic, he would have been surprised that the Democratic government is silent on the return of Catholic schools and property.
He would have wanted the church which he loved deeply to be an accompanier of our people. Like Jesus walked with the disciples of Emmaus, Giuseppe would have liked the church continues to be faithful companion of those who are dispossessed or as the Pope indicates those in the margins
But he is a great teacher in life and in death.
He would have never lost hope in humanity. He would have warmly worked for the realization of good in the two documents of Pope: Laudato Sii and Evangelium Gaudium. The two injustices that strangle the future of the poor: the economic justice and environmental justice would have occupied his attention.
He would have expected us to work for the development of the 40% poor of Myanmar. He would have expected us to work towards the environment protection, especially in the ethnic areas.
He would have rejoiced that the Myanmar church is deeply involved in the human development of the poor. We have finished the nation building seminar, planning on five sectors: Education, Human Development, women development, Indigenous rights and inter religious response to the problems of the poor.
We remember him gratefully. Those who live for others never die. “Those who believe in me, said Jesus, even if they die they live”. Giuseppe lives in his dreams, in his compassion, in his love for the poor, in his active participation to bring justice to this world, he continues to live.
In each one of you gathered here, each one of you who are part of the Friends of Myanmar, in each one of you who has seen and worked with Giuseppe, he continues to live.
The greatest tribute one can pay to our fallen friend is to continue his mission. I am very glad and grateful that you have invited me to honour this great soul.
May his memory continue to inspire us.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, BIshop of Yangon Myanmar
Questo articolo è disponibile anche in: Italian