COLLE UMBERTO, Vittorio Veneto, Italy (C.M. Paul) – The home town people of the Servant of God Salesian missionary Fr Costantino Vendrame who worked in the Khasi Hills of Megahalaya welcomed three visiting Khasi missionaries. Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong and Bishop Victor Lyngdoh of Nongstoin (Khasi Hills), visited Fr Vendrame’s native village and celebrated holy Eucharist at his home parish, San Martino.
Arriving from Rome at Conegliano train station in northeast Italy, the group was welcomed by parish priest, former mayor and council member who had been to Shillong, earlier in the year. After a brief stop over to greet Bishop Corrado Pizziolo of Vittorio Veneto, the group proceeded to St Martin’s Church for the 7 pm Mass where they were welcomed by the Mayor.
The current parish priest who visited Shillong for the conclusion of archdiocesan process of Fr Vendrame’s Cause for canonization, 19 February 2011, along with the Mayor and Councillors welcomed the visiting prelates who were accompanied by another Khasi priest Fr Festus Shadap, a PhD student from Salesian University Rome.
“We wanted to personally thank the people of Colle Umberto for their love and support of the Cause of Fr Vendrame,” said archbishop Jala presiding the Eucharist. He was in Italy on ad liminia (five yearly) visit to the Pope and report to the Vatican Departments.
At the dinner hosted at former Mayor’s house, Fr Angelo Granziera, parish priest of San Martino di Colle Umberto was joined by Mons. Tarcisio Bolzan, parish priest of Susegana, in the Province of Treviso, who was born and baptised in the parish of San Martino di Colle Umberto, where Fr Constantine Vendrame grew up as a boy.
Special mention must be made of the former Mayor of Colle Umberto Town Mr. Edoardo Scarpis and his wife Augusta for their remarkable assistance in facilitating the visit, organizing transportation and offering gracious hospitality.
Also founder secretary of Associazione Famiglie Rurarle (Association of Rural Families) a foundation helping people in Africa and south America, Mr. Romano Volpato joined the group with a development project for the Khasi people.
Fr. Costantino Vendrame (1893-1957) is a household word among the Khasis in Northeast India. His missionary feats have become legend among the people. He toured the length and breadth of the Khasi-Pnar land and reached out even to the remotest villages. His zeal for soul was proverbial and his love for the Kingdom of God made him undergo willingly every form of sacrifice, physical, mental and psychological. At his death in 1957 it was said that he died of over exhaustion. Every bone and sinew of his had been fully consumed for the spreading of the Gospel.
Born at San Martino di Colle Umberto, in the region of Treviso, Italyon 27th August 1893, he joined the Salesian novitiate at Ivrea 1913. After priestly ordination in 1924, Fr Vendrame arrived in Shillong on December 23, 1924. Within a short period of five years (1926-1931) the number of Catholics had increased from a mere 400 to 1,449 and the number of centres increased to 105.
A great devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he built a shrine to the Sacred Heart at Mawlai, Shillong. The shrine is the chapel of Sacred Heart Theological College run by the Salesians.
After 32 years in intense mission work in India, Fr Vendrame died on 30 January 1957 in Dibrugarh (Assam) hospital.
Pls click this link for UCANews report