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Friday, November 06, 2009

Priest invites all to his own funeral Mass

Zu wenig Kirchgänger: Pfarrer lädt Schäfchen zu seinem Begräbnis ein

Too few churchgoers: Parish priest invites flock to his own funeral.

In April, an Italian priest in the earthquake-devastated Abruzzi area of Tempera has posted placards, announcing his death and the funeral. Thus the minister wants to move the faithful to attend the show.

"I wanted to shake people out of their sleep. The Catholic community should keep together, until the earthquake-damaged church is restored," said the priest, Giovanni Gatto.

Since fewer and fewer people visited Mass, Father Gatto decided on his unorthodox initiative. "I wanted to attract the attention of the community and warn of the danger that the community breaks up after the earthquake," said the priest, according to Italian media on Tuesday.

More and more priests in Italy have to deal with the problem of empty churches. A Northern Italian priest last year went on hunger strike for three days to protest against his empty church. To bring people closer to the faith, the Roman priest Paolo Lojudice has begun to celebrate Sunday Mass in a large shopping center on the outskirts of the Eternal City.
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