Our Rule of Life, the text that inspires us to live our vocation as religious of the Blessed Sacrament, in speaking about the reality of death in our lives, states: “The death of a brother shall be celebrated as a paschal event, in a prayer filled with hope.”
This hope springs from our profession of faith in the Risen Christ, who also celebrated his Pasch, in which he overcame death and offered us a path towards a joyful eternity. The Pasch entails an experience of passage that we live in the different phases of our life until reaching the moment in which we celebrate the final passage of our existence. Father Carlo Vassalli, our Blessed Sacrament brother, a member of the Family of Saint Peter-Julian Eymard, is now living his definitive Pasch, in which, as a man consecrated to living the mystery of the Eucharist fully, he can present the fruits of his existence to God the Father.
The community of the General Curia, located in Rome, was graced by Father Carlo’s presence and mission in two specific periods. First when he was a General Consultor from 1981 to 1987. I had the joy of meeting him during this period. Accompanying the Superior General of the time, Father Carlo visited the Province of Brazil in the year in which I began my vocational journey at the Blessed Sacrament Seminary.
His second period in the Generalate was from 2012 onwards, when he accepted my request to undertake the mission of General Procurator and General Archivist of our Congregation. Having great knowledge of our history, he knew how to take important steps about ensuring that our congregational memories were archived in a scientific way. We owe to his initiative the knowledge of the written testimony of the Superior General, Father Harrie Verhoeven. In fact, Father Carlo asked the former superior generals of the time to write a text, highlighting important aspects of their periods of governance in our Congregation.
His presence of a more administrative character in our community helped us maintain a religious family spirit, for, in addition to the tasks already mentioned, he was also the superior of the community. His service in animating our daily life as consecrated religious, through meetings, retreats, daily prayers and adorations, community outings, moments of celebration and joy, helped us greatly to foster the spirit of family and friendship that was developing among us. As a religious and priest, who was more than 80 years old, living with religious in their 40s and 50s, younger than him and coming from very different cultures, Father Carlo always showed himself capable of building open, mature and constructive relationships, making us feel always welcome in a real community of brothers. His sensitivity to liturgical singing and music in general always tended towards promoting deeper levels in our communication as pertains to men endeavouring to live their consecration in the constant quest for God.
Although suffering the rupture that the reality of death imposes on us, our experience of faith leads us to praise the Creator for Father Carlo’s life and for all the fruits of his existence, for his family, for his beloved Province of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, for the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and for the whole Church in general. The expressions of so many Christians who frequent our parishes bear witness that the gift of his life, his guidance and his celebrations have borne fruit in the lives of numerous people.
May Father Carlo Vassalli now find in the merciful arms of God the Father the welcome and the definitive invitation to participate at the table of the definitive Kingdom: “Good and faithful servant, enter and share the joy of your Lord!”
25 September 2023
Father Eugênio Barbosa Martins, sss