Fr Spagnolo and Fr Marrone both belonged to the Special Circumscription of Italy, Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta (ICP), both boasted a missionary experience in Africa of over 30 years and were both tireless. Fr Spagnolo, in 2014, when he had already served for three decades in various missions in West Africa, "snatched" permission from his doctor and Superiors to return to Nigeria to be "in charge" of the new Salesian presence in Ijebu-Ode. He was already 73 and just recovering from a tumor.
As a spiritual testament, we can recall these words: “At 79 I continue to live my Salesian vocation with joy and enthusiasm, like in the beginning. The Salesian vocation is all-encompassing: it gives us the sense of God and of working unconditionally for his Kingdom, totally free; it gives us the joy of the community that supports us in every circumstance; it offers us a wonderful field of action: being and working with young people and being close to the people with the spirit of Don Bosco is immensely gratifying. We give ourselves, we sacrifice ourselves, we love and are reciprocated.”
A similar path was that of Fr Marrone, for over 35 years a missionary in Nigeria, where he went, making himself available: when the "Africa Project" was launched and the Piedmont Province was entrusted with the patronage of Nigeria, he informally told the Provincial: “If you need to, count on me!” Three months later he was sent to Ireland to study English and prepare for departure.
In Nigeria he was the founder of Salesian houses, schools, oratories, workshops and a theological studentate. He too, last March, left a sort of "spiritual testament": "I am a missionary by gift of God, in a church and a congregation that have always given me ample space and 'crosses' if you want, but that I have always loved; projects superior to me that have moved me and still excite me, because they are projects of God who is always new and who renews our youth.”
Of Fr Gorgone and Fr Urso, both belonging to the Sicilian Province (ISI), the ISI Provincial, Fr Giovanni D'Andrea, left a concise and expressive reminder: “This morning (yesterday, 1 December, Ed.) two confreres, shortly after each other, returned to Heaven ... Both 'architects': the first of chapels and churches in our Province, the second 'architect' of Youth Ministry, among the supporters of the birth of the Salesian Youth Movement, almost 50 years ago, and a supporter of Salesian associations. May the Lord welcome these 'good and faithful servants' into the Glory of Heaven, from today in the company of Don Bosco, whom they have followed in their lives.”