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REV. FR. MICH LINO MARCO - COMBONI MISSIONARY - (1928-1983)

    "Tesero, July 2, 1949,

    Very Reverend Father, I am a seminarian of the Major Seminary in Trento. In the first year of Theology which I am now ending, my inclination towards the missionaries has changed into an ardent desire and into a firm decision to be myself, like them, a missionary. What has pushed me to this decision, besides the desire to belong entirely to the Lord, is the thought of the urgent need of laborers in this vast field.
    My Spiritual Director has confirmed my decision; and the Rector and His Highness the Bishop do not have any objection. I am the sixth of eight children in my family, and so I don't think I shall have any difficulty.
    With your consent I hope to take the decisive step even within this year...".

    With this letter Marco Lino Mich was starting his missionary venture. The Rector, after furnishing the best recommendation on the young seminarian as far as a good will, obedience and good morals, said that he was a rather "original" character. But he added immediately: "I have all hope that the young man will be successful and will be a positive force in the Institute, because he has great courage and a strong determination".

Father Audisio, the master of novices at Florence (Italy) where Lino had entered on October 1, 1949, wrote: "On account of his character he is prone to levity so that some relaxation results in the observance of the small rules. That is one point on which I have insisted without obtaining much results. However, I don't believe that this will constitute an obstacle to the earnestness of a good religious, rather, it puts him in the condition of bringing a note of joy into the community. After all he has done all his duty with praiseworthy exactness. He has carried out his duty of Latin professor to the students of I Liceo of the second year. He is endowed with good intelligence and with sound judgment. He is therefore a very good element".

After his First Profession at Florence on the 9th of September 1951, he was sent to Venegono to finish his third and fourth year of Theology. He was ordained priest at Milan on May 30 1953.
The day after his ordination Father Medeghini Alessandro (who worked also in Arua Town Parish-Catholic Centre), superior at Venegono, wrote: "He is intelligent and he is aware of it. He is also somehow sleek. He has a timid character, and so at times he tries to avoid superiors. He must be corrected and guided for the first years. He will be very useful".
As to his intelligence his first theology report card shows only two "near perfect" in History and philosophy, and for the rest is all "perfect".


A STRETCH OF FIFTEEN YEARS

From 1953 to 1956 Father Mich was in London for the study of English (he already knew German) and for the "Teacher Certificate" in view of his work in Uganda. In fact, in October 1936, we find him in Lodonga as a teacher at the T.T.C. After fours years (1960) he was at Warr always as a teacher in the Junior, but the following year (1961) he was back at Lodonga to his first place and remained there until 1965.
After one year in Koboko, always as a teacher, he was transferred to Ombaci' ('66-'60) where he was superior and director of the school. Fifteen years of Africa without a moment of rest are long, so that, at the end of 1968 he went back to Italy for some vacations, passed in a hurry. In August of '69 he was back in Ombaci' as a headmaster of the Senior... The words of Father Audisio "He has performed the task of professor with praise" had marked his life. Lately he was also a Provincial Councilor.


RECKLESS EVEN IN CHARITY

In the notes which are related at the beginning of these lines there is - in a nutshell - all Father Mich. As he was timid by nature he used to take off in high gear. For him, more than the laws and the structures, confreres and people really counted. When he thought he had to defend someone, he was like a bull in the ring: he was lowering his head, pointing his horns and charging in the midst of dust. And he was on target at times. But his intention was genuine moved only by charity, even though at times he was considering only one side of the reasons without valuing those of the other side. With the same vehemence he knew how to apologize immediately.
Mich was a "wreckless", and not only when he was driving! Father Paolucci (Torquato) does not hesitate to call him: "A great gift of the Lord for West Nile, especially in the dangerous period of the '79 war, the invasion of October '80 with consequent slaughters and destructions at Arua, the renewed effort of the rebels in June 1981 and the slaughter of Ombaci'... Mich was always seen in the front line, generous to heroism in helping everybody.
His acquaintances and friendships, his ability to see problems in their proper perspective, his ability to normalize, his funs and his joviality infused in us hope and courage.
We must not believe that Fr. Mich did not know the feeling of fear. He felt it to the point of getting sick and having his blood pressure raised. But the feeling of responsibility and the love for his neighbor were bigger than the love for his life. If there were confreres isolated or in dangerous situations, students to take home or "to save", wounded to be admitted to the hospital, Father Mich was jumping in the car, and may be with a little escort of soldiers (who instead of keeping bullets away could have attracted them) and threw himself, without putting up airs, rather...".
"In order not to give importance when he was taking decision of authority - writes Fr. Raffaele Dellagiacoma - he was throwing a joke to provoke a laugh. And when facing problems, he was putting on first plane people, whom he accepted as they were, with their good and bad sides. and Many times he could have "passed the bucket", but he never did, rather risking un-popularity".
"His charity toward confreres - Fr. Mario Ruggeri said - had tinges which at times escaped the attention of a superior. A personal fact: I was not feeling good and my health was getting worse. He noticed it at once and without hesitation he arranged for me to be admitted in the hospital of Angal. It was viral hepatitis: good for me, and thanks to him that I was taken in time.
The day before leaving for Nairobi on that trip which was fatal, in spite of the rains and the bad roads, he came to see me all the way to Angal to cheer me up and make me laugh with his jokes".

 

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