Bishop Nervi Commemorated

…Bishop Stima and some local clergy during mass

Catholics across the world commemorate and pray for all the deceased souls on All Souls Day on 2nd November each year. However, the Catholic Diocese of Mangochi has today on 14th May, 2018 celebrated a solemn requiem Mass in memory of Bishop Luciano Nervi. A congregation made of priests, nuns, lay faithfuls and seminarians, was led by Bishop Montfort Stima of Mango.chi. Lucia Nervi, sister to late Bishop Nervi was in attendance. The Mass began at the dot 10 in the morning at a cemetery for clerics at St. Paul the Apostle Minor Seminary.

Bishop Stima called the congregation to reflect on death as a mystery of life that cannot be missed or avoided. He however appealed to everyone to keep the other in prayer whilst we live and not to wait the one of the one dies.

Speaking on behalf of the local Clergy in the Diocese, Fr Kondwani Matupa thanked God for the gift of Bishop Nervi to Diocese of Mangochi. He was also grateful to Bishop Nervi for extending his family to Malawi and sharing his membership in the family to the Church of Mangochi through her sister Lucia Nervi who was present at the celebration of Mass. “Bishop Nervi was brother Lucia Nervi and on his passing, Lucia was left with us as sister to us all”. He said. He henceforth called the congregation and all faithfuls to keep on praying for Bishops Nervi and Assolari, and all priests who have gone before us that their souls rest in perfect peace lest we find intercessors along the way.

Bishop Nervi belonged to the Missionary of the Society of Mary, (S.M.M) before his consecration as bishop. As missionary, Fr. Luciano Nervi served in Italy (his own country). For 17 years he worked in Madagascar as editor at the “Apostle of Mary” Publication. He also found himself in some African Countries such as Malawi and Zambia. In Malawi Fr. Nervi served as parish priest at St. Augustine Cathedral in Mangochi where he returned upon his appointment as bishop elect of Diocese of Mangochi on 20th November 2004 by the Holy Father. On 29th January 2005, he was consecrated bishop. Long before his served enough as senior pastor, he was attacked by cerebral malaria and died 0n 8th March 2005. He had just served as bishop for 38 days only.

Father Luciano did not have time to complete his pastoral programme, or rather he paid for it with death, the contribution which God had foreseen in his mysterious plan with which he guides history. How will people remember the 38 days of Bishop Luciano Nervi?” Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba asks in A Letter from Balaka. This is his reply: “His name will not be simply one on the list of Bishops who led the Church in Mangochi. From the first day even before people learned his name, he was easy to recognise with his pale blue mitre decorated with African symbols. It earned him the title of the blue bishop. And this is how they will remember this missionary who was Bishop for a few days and who helped this Church to dream and to be convinced that it is possible renew one’s self and start afresh every day”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 6/5/2005 righe 32 parole 432)

Lucia on her brother’s tomb

Lucia attend all requiem Masses organised by the diocese since the death of her broether Bishop Luciano Nervi. She however demonstrates her faith and love for the brother in a very unique way. Luciano and Lucia share the same Latin etymology of their names. The names are driven from a Latin word ‘luce’ which means light. It is therefore imperative to cogitate that Lucia is twin sister to  Bishop Nervi or find meaning in the sacred love of Ss. Fransis of Asis and  Claire (Brother sun, Sister moon) with her love beyond expression to be close in prayer to a deceased family member each year.