The Fertile Grain of Life: Father Tezza

tezza 1Source: E seppe dire si di Don Luigi Miglioli

He had by then been absent and detached from everyone for almost three years and one could well have thought that at his funeral many would have been absent, given that they had no longer been used to going to the ‘Good Death’ House to visit Fr. Tezza.

  Such was not the case. The good that had been sowed by him in armfuls left an indelible sign behind it and thus it was that at the funeral Mass the society of Lima was present in its entirely: the Apostolic Nuncio, the Minister of Italy, the Consul of Central America, the representatives of the metropolitan Chapter and of all the religious Orders and Congregations, a commission of the Italian community, the representatives of colleges, and finally a multitude of other people.

Everyone wanted to go into that church which, for that occasion, appeared to be very small because the throng was so great.

The celebration of his funeral was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio Msgr. Petrelli who did not fail to express his admiration for Father Tezza, to pronounce praise for his apostolic zeal, and to point to the exemplariness of his spirit of poverty and his dedication to the cause of the poor.

He truly was the Good Samaritan of Peru because he tried to heal its social and religious wounds by bringing to that country an evangelical breath that was innovative and generated energies that only Christianity, when intensely felt and lived, is able to find.

He was a Good Samaritan who paid, did, had done, and tried, through the foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of St. Camillus, to push souls to act.

When journeying in the streets of that land he always found at the sides of the road people in need in their bodies and their spirits and he gave to everyone; he said the right thing in the right way.

Those who passed in front of his coffin had an opportunity to reflect on the great lessons that this man during the whole of his life knew how to give and that musing was helpful because many thought that this was the funeral of a saint. And memories blossomed and tales were born told with holy enthusiasm and joyous admiration and everyone agreed in affirming that this man, who during the whole of his life never showed that he was tired and always wanted to be humble and gentle, also had the special gift of the discernment of spirits because everyone turned to him, in particular when they had to solve the problem of their own vocations: it was precisely at that moment that they knew how to be able to hear from him words that were sound.

tezza 2 But the moment came when Father Tezza had to abandon the church for ever and he was buried in the general cemetery of the city.

Here, to give some examples, I will refer to some judgements that those who knew him well have pronounced, thereby providing us with testimony to the esteem that they felt for Father Tezza.

His Excellency Msgr. Gasparry defined him in the following way: ‘a man inspired by God who was providential for Lima’. Msgr. Castamagna, his personal friend who on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his priesthood wanted to organise solemn celebrations, defined him as a ‘reliquary from heaven!’. His Excellency Msgr. Severi said that ‘Father Tezza is the most worthy priest of Lima’ and His Excellency Msgr. Lauri declared: ‘when you saw him pray you adjudged him a saint’.

And on the day of his funeral a religious who was present and offered his condolences and those of his community observed: ‘No, we should not weep because of the death of Father Tezza; we have lost a great deal, there is no doubt; you most reverend fathers have lost a father and a brother who was so holy and so good; I have lost a friend and a teacher. But all of us have gained a protector in heaven’ (Cruz Manleon de la Buenamuerte).