Father Vecchi died Jan. 23 in Rome, after 20 months of suffering from a cerebral tumor. He was 71. He had been major rector of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco since 1996.
In a telegram sent to Father Luc Van Looy, Father Vecchi´s vicar, John Paul II described the deceased as a "zealous minister of the Gospel" and praised his "integral fidelity to Christ and the Church together with his generous commitment to exercise his duty, in a spirit of service, for the good of the Church."
Father Vecchi´s funeral service took place Saturday in Don Bosco´s Church.
Father Renato Butera, director of the Salesian News Agency, told Vatican Radio that "Father Vecchi was a man who worked for the meeting of faith and culture ... not only in the lives of young people, but in society in general."
At the same time, Father Vecchi hoped that "every community would become a place for the sanctification of all the religious," and he opened communities to closer cooperation with the laity, Father Butera added.