A MISSIONARY of the great 1-1 pioneering tradition has died in Verona at the age of 78 in the person of Fr. Antonio Vignato, former Superior General of the Verona Fathers. Part of his record was to survive 16 attacks of blackwater fever.
Sent to the Sudan as a young priest in 1902, he was the first missionary to set foot and say Mass in the Bahr el Ghazal province. For 10 years he struggled in an entirely new and often hostile field. But when he left, the first converts had been baptised, churches had been built and the first regular school opened.
The same happened when he was sent to Uganda as religious superior and later became first Prefect Apostolic of Gulu there. New missions were opened, churches and schools were built, and that understanding between the British Administration and the missions was established which is characteristic of missionary work in Uganda.
He started the native seminary in 1927 and three years later the foundation stone was laid of the imposing cathedral at Gulu.
It was long his wish that the Verona Fathers should establish themselves in the English-speaking world, and immediately after his election as Superior General in 1937 a foundation was made in England wtth the college opened at Sunningdale, Berks. A foundation was also made in America in 1940.
Fr. Vignato spent the greater part of 1938 and 1939 visiting the Verona Fathers' Missions in Egypt, the Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda. In this last. mission he was present at the ordination of the first native priests, whom he had received into the seminary 11 years before.
A diocesan enquiry has been started in Durango, Mexico, for the beatification of Fr, Mateo Correa, parish priest of Valparaiso, who was executed 27 years ago during the anti-religious Calles regime.