Necrology of Fr. Amato Aldino OP

Rev. Fr. Amato Aldino was born in Molfetta, Bari Italy on February 22, 1931. His father, Amato Nicola, was a fisherman and his mother, Anna Leone, a housewife. A week after his birth he was baptized by Don Mauro at St. Ignatius Cathedral of Mofetta and was given the name Amato Giovanni. This Cathedral was administered by the Jesuits priests. Fr. Amato Aldino had three siblings, two brothers namely Amato Mauro and Amato Michele and a sister Rosaria and he was the 4th in the family. His father died when he was just 18 months old. It was very difficult for his mother to look after four children. Saint Vincent De Paul Sisters asked him to pray for daily bread before the sacred heart picture at Saint Benardino di Siena Church near his house. God heard the prayers and the sisters of charity out of compassion used to give one kg bread every day to his family. But the circumstances forced his family to change their house often. When Amato Giovanni was five years old his mother and he suffered from typhoid. Unfortunately, his mother died due to this sickness. Later, Amato was sent to a doctor’s house to assist him, and he gave shelter and food to him for three years. On Sunday Morning, May 30, 1938, he received Holy communion and on the same day in the afternoon he was confirmed by his Bishop at Sacred Heart Church Molfetta. His cousin sisters thought that it would be better to send him to an orphanage in Giovinazzo which was six kilometres away from Molfetta. So when he was 8-year-old he was admitted to the orphanage, which was a former Dominican priory at Giovinazzo. After 6 years, in 1945 at the age of 14, he completed his primary education at the orphanage. He also did a course to enable children to find work and left the orphanage and returned back to Molfetta.
In Molfetta, he met with an inspiring Dominican priest, Fr. Gerardo Capalluti OP, who suggested to him to join the Dominicans and recommended him to meet the vocation promotor Professor Fiore OP in Molfetta. He was sent for four years to Arezzo the Dominican Seminary which was an Apostolic School as a Dominican aspirant to discern his vocation. At the age of 18, he was sent to the Novitiate at Fiesole with the other two students Fr. Carlous Sansoni OP and Fr. Christopher Nuardella OP from Foggia. He made his first profession on October 4, 1950 and was given a religious name “Aldino”. After the Novitiate at the age of 19 he was transferred to commence his theological course of studies at St. Thomas Aquinas University, the Angelicum, Rome which lasted for 5 years. In 1954 he made his solemn profession in Sopra Minerva Rome in the hands of Provincial Bernini OP.
He was very much impressed by the Italian missionaries of Pakistan particularly Fr. Gerardo and Fr. Constant. Fr. Giovanni Serrotti says, that during his study at the Angelicum he talked zealously about the mission in Pakistan in between the lecture breaks. In 1955, after Philosophy and Theology studies at the age of 24, he began the two-year course of general studies for the priesthood at Pistoia. Subsequently, at the age of 26 on June 29, 1957, he was ordained a Priest by Bishop Mario in the Saint Giacomo Cathedral, Pistoia. At his ordination, he promised God to become a missionary. Thus, right after his ordination, he wrote a letter to his provincial, Fr. Reginald Bernini asking to be allowed to go to the mission in Pakistan. But his application was not accepted and he was sent to the apostolic school, Dominican Seminary, Arezzo, as the formator of Dominican Aspirants where Master Reginaldo Mazzai welcomed him. He served as an assistant Formator for five years at the Apostolic School, Arezzo, from 1957 to 1962. In 1962 Fr. Francis Dati OP, became the Provincial. He had been a missionary in Pakistan. Fr Amato Aldino wrote again requesting the Provincial to send him to Pakistan as a missionary. His request was granted and he was sent to Pakistan in place of the Provincial.
On February 8, 1962, Rev. Fr. Amato Aldino along with Fr. Thomas Capone OP and Bro. Dominic Peduzzi OP, arrived in Karachi Pakistan by ship after travelling for a week. He stayed at Karachi Cathedral parish house for a week. Later from February to June 1962 he stayed at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral Faisalabad with Bishop Cialeo. In July 1962, he was asked to stay for a month at Francisabad village to look after the parish needs, because Fr. Hycinth Galeota, the parish priest of the village Francisabad was admitted to St. Raphael Hospital, Faisalabad. While there he learnt a few words in the Punjabi language from the Dominican Sisters of Catherine of Siena. Later he spent almost two months with the LaSalle brothers under the care of Bro. Anselm their house superior, to improve English language skill. He had a great devotion for the Holy Mass, Divine office and Rosary. He never missed the Holy Mass. He was a true Dominican contemplative. A Dominican ought to give the fruit of their contemplation in their life witness and preaching. He used to spend his free time in contemplation and prayer. He would go to the Church always 45 minutes prior to the Holy Mass. It was his routine to sit every day in the confessional. He was extremely regular in saying the Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary and Holy Mass every day.
Fr. Amato was the person who has played a vital role in the diocese of Faisalabad and contributed a lot in so many ways. He was very regular and punctual in performing his responsibilities. He got his first assignment from Bishop Cialeo to be assistant priest at Khushpur Parish. Fr. Thomas Consessao OP, an Indian Dominican was a parish priest at that time who welcomed him with open arms. After one week of his arrival at Khushpur he became sick and was admitted at Saint Raphael Hospital. He returned to Khushpur after the medication and took the pastoral responsibility of 180 villages including Issa Nagri, Tandlian wala to name but two. He served as an Ilaqa inchagre for five years from 1962-1967. He used to make a full week pastoral tour from Monday to Friday going from village to village. At night he stayed in the villages at the homes of the parishioners. On Saturday afternoon he would return back to the parish house. It was his practice to visit three villages a day even during the scorching heat. He never had a nap in the afternoon. He wore dark brown habit always. Although he had sun stroke three times during his 10 years of pastoral services at Khushpur Parish. He narrated that once he was visiting Issa Nagri village when he had sun stroke and was brought to Khushpur to the clinic of the sisters. He had a very high fever and they cooled his fever down by ice swaps. Another time he had sunstroke at Humza Village, again he was brought to the Khushpur’s Clinic for medication.
He gave the days of recollections to the Dominican sisters. The Dominicans sisters helped him a lot in learning local language. The Dominicans Sisters were the part of his pastoral team. By seeing the spiritual needs of the various villages. He constructed Churches in Chak 468 Bulpur, Nangali, Humza Village, Puchoki Village, Tandilian Wala and in Chak 34. These people are still very thankful to Fr. Amato Aldino and have with them the golden memories.
From 1967 to 1972 he served as a parish priest at Khushper Parish. There was a village tradition that the parish priest ought to be also the Lambrdar of the Village. This was how he became also the head of the village Lambrdar. He used to resolve the conflicts and problems with counsellings and with certain decisions. He arranged different kind of social work, e.g., technical skills, sewing centre, financial help, conducted programmes for farmers and other current needs. He also sent a group of 19 students to Italy to become doctors. Due to his kind guidance and support Dr. Martin, Dr. Waris, Dr. Anwar, Dr. Ashir, Miss Rubina and other doctors are serving in Pakistan and abroad. Every Sunday he used to have regular meetings with different groups in the parish such as the parish council, youth groups, altar boys, St. Vincent de Paul society, Christian welfare society, staff and students of various schools and colleges.
In one of his visits to Italy he happened to meet a blind professor, Luigi Viari. He was teaching in the government school in Arezzo, Italy. He invited him to meet the Apostolic Movements for the blinds (Movimenti Apostolic Ciechi) in Arezzo. Professor Luigi Viari encouraged him to start a blind school in Pakistan and also assured future assistance and economic support. The Professor used to campaign for the blind in the Churches of Italy. In this way he conceived vocation, inspiration and love for this great mission.