Sunday, June 16, 2013

Catholic Church beatifies Italian righteous gentile Odoardo Focherini

ROME (JPost) – Odoardo Focherini, whom Yad Vashem honored as a Righteous among the Nations in 1969, was beatified on Saturday by the Roman Catholic Church in Carpi, his hometown in the province of Modena in northern Italy.

Focherini is the first Righteous Gentile to be sent on the road to sainthood, the first Catholic to be named a blessed martyr for losing his life in order to save Jews during the Nazi era.

His beatification process began in 1996 when the Carpi Catholic Diocese presented an official document.

Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree attesting to Focherini’s martyrdom on May 10, 2012.

Strong positive reactions have begun pouring in from representatives of world Jewry.

Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, offered “homage with deference and deep feeling.”

“Odoardo Focherini was a person of the highest values and principles. An extraordinary commitment, paid at the price of his life... His courage, his ideals, his love for life will not be forgotten. His memory will continue to be a source of inspiration, also for future generations,” Gattegna said.