Lay Missionary, 60, Killed in Rwanda

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ROME, OCT. 8, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Rwanda was a second homeland for Italian Giuliano Berizzi, 60, who went to that African country after he retired eight years ago.



Berizzi decided to dedicate the last years of his life to working as a lay missionary with the Salesians among the poor of Rwanda in the service of the Catholic Church. He was killed on Saturday.

What initially appeared to be a robbery attempt has become suspicious, the Misna agency reported.

Basing its report on testimonies gathered in Kigali, the capital, Misna said the assailants who entered Berizzi´s residence intended to kill, not to rob, although the possibility that they mistook their victim has not been ruled out.

The Italian lay missionary had traveled to Rwanda on Sept. 15. He planned on staying there, as he had in other years, until Christmas.

Every time he returned to Italy he was accompanied by young Africans seeking to further their education or training. Berizzi himself trained young Rwandans to be electricians.

Upon hearing of his death, one of his relatives said: "Giuliano was always happy, ready to help, happy to work for youths and orphans, and for Salesian mission endeavors."