Articles from the Italian press

 

 

 

 

 

 

He has been the most beautiful gift from God; a sunray of God's love that shines in the darkness of the world. He is like the hope of  eternal happiness; an ardent flame of Gods' love. He is proof that God always loves the world, and proof for the Church that Christ is still with it;  that Christ is always alive in the Church. For the poor and underprivileged persons, he represented  hope. Also, our people in India considered him as a father. Some Hindu people, when they knew John Paul I, said: " This one is a Pope who is just in Mother Theresa 's heart because he is full of love for the poor ". His death is a mystery that we must accept; there are no human explanations. His passage has given  proof of the Church vitality.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

 

 


 

Magazine "Gente", October 14th, 1978

 

 

His last caress

 

Daniele Bravo, 10 years old, speaks about the dialogue that the Pope  had with him last September 27th, during his last public audience - The Pontiff had called him close to him so that he 'helped'  to explain to the  thousands of people present the need to love God more and more - " His hands were so warm ", says Daniele - remembering the meeting. How the boy has reacted to the Pontiff 's death and the body exposed in the Clementine Room:

 

- On Wednesday, September 27th, 12 o' clock. In an immense room of the Vatican, the Nervi Room, a child is  with the Pope, holding his hand, in front of thousands of people.

" Let the children come to me ". The Vicar of Christ had repeated Jesus' invitation to the disciples saying: " Can a child come up here to help the Pope? ". There was  hesitation among all the thirty six pupils (from 'Angeli Custodi' elementary school), quick consultations between the Nuns that accompanied them, then a boy jumped, impeccable as a model in his school uniform. He had reached the fence, and was about to jump over it when two strong arms helped him to reach his destination. Here  is Daniele Bravo before the Pope and before the microphones.

That meeting of Wednesday, September 27th, was a story to tell, a memorable episode in the chronicles of  Bravo 's family : " That time, the Pope held my hand ... ". Now it is a simple testimony, ingenuous, but full of emotion: " The Pope wanted me close to him forty eight hours before he died ".

This journalist  met Daniele immediately after the meeting with the Pope and then some hours after the Pope 's death , and then back with him in front of the Pope 's body.

 

We want to remember how was your meeting with Juan Paul I.

 

DANIELE: " It was unexpected, as I was not expecting the terrible news that make me weep. I was in the room of the audiences with friends, females and males, of fifth class, when he, the Pope, said he wanted a child from the school. The Nun sent me because I had the uniform in perfect order. I was very moved... "

 

What was your conversation with the Pope ? Try to remember, as if the newspapers had not written anything.

 

DANIELE: " At first, he asked me what was my name, and which class I was in. Then he asked me if I preferred to remain in fifth or to go to the secondary school. And I... "

 

You  answered him you preferred to remain in fifth. Did you know you had put the Pope in a difficult position ? His speech was based on the need for man to go forward; to progress. You told him you preferred to remain in fifth ...

 

DANIELE: " I told the truth. I am not pleased to think that next year I will have to leave my teacher, my school-friends, now I am fond of them ".

 

Actually, Daniele had understood the sense of Juan Paul I 's speech, but he has preferred  sincerity rather than  diplomacy, also telling the Pope what he was feeling inside, because he is a sincere little boy, and also intelligent. Daniele 's mother, Annamaria,  explained to me the same as the child: " Do you understand ? At the beginning of this school year, he felt so bad when he knew that his friends couldn't go to the  secondary school. To change everything, after five years; it has been a shock for him ".

 

So you  told the truth to the Pope, and what did he say ?

 

DANIELE: "He exclaimed : " Uh ", as he was saying : " Look a little at this one ". Then, he  explained that when he was a child, he was different from me, because when he was in fourth class, he was expecting to go to fifth, and so on ".

 

What did you feel immediately after the meeting with the Pope ? Is it not usual for a Pontiff  to call a child nearer to him ...

 

DANIELE: " I was glad, also because it was an unexpected thing; I considered myself to be the luckiest, though also I was moved, naturally ".

 

And now, Daniele ? Now the world weeps for the smiling Pope of the thirty three days?

 

DANIELE: " Now I have as a lump here inside. It is not right that a man like that can die. But... Yes, I consider myself to be even luckier for having met him, of having spoken with him, because he held my hand. If I had imagined ... ".

 

Tell me, what happened after the audience, when the big crowd of faithful began leaving the Nervi Room ?

 

DANIELE: " At a certain point, I could not understand anything more. Many persons, many foreigners, recognized me and touched me, as if I was a miraculous statue. I was feeling  caught from everywhere. Then, those from the radio took me out and I was taken to where 'Il Gazzettino di Roma' is transmitted".

 

And what did you say on the radio?

 

DANIELE: " My impressions about the new Pope. My God, it is strange to speak now like this, about the new Pope, when he is not already among us any more ... I said he is charming, kind; that he loves children. That now and always I will do whatever he has asked, and I have recommended all the children of Rome to do the same".

 

In confidence, were they your words, or they had been suggested to you on the radio?

 

DANIELE: " Uh, well, I was told what I had to say ".

 

What had you understood about the speech of the Pope ? Not what was written by the newspapers afterwards, but what you kept in your mind.

 

DANIELE: " No, I did not read the newspapers at all after the audience. I read the titles of today, these extraordinary editions that speak about his death. So ... the speech was about charity; the fact that our life is like a journey. That means, it is always necessary to go ahead, to progress, as it happened with houses: at first, huts, lake dwellings, and then ahead up to the skyscrapers ".

 

And according to you, what is charity?

 

DANIELE: " Charity ... to be good, to give money for the missions, to help those who are in need, the handicapped; and it is also charity to pray for the poor Pope who has left us ".

 

The day after the audience, at school, his school-friends had admired Daniele Bravo very much. Maybe there was also an innocent type of envy. A companion, Alessandra, had asked for his autograph, and then the other thirty four companions had also wanted his signature. Twenty-four hours later, on Friday morning, at school, Daniele became an object of a new curiosity, as if someone from home had died. " I don 't know ", he says, " I almost had the feeling that someone wanted to give me  condolences ".

Daniele 's parents had been the last ones who learnt about his adventure in the Vatican! Antonio Bravo and his wife Annamaria are employed at a professional institute: he teaches Electrotechnics, she is in the office. Usually, they arrive home at about two o'clock in the afternoon. That day, Wednesday, the television was already transmitting the pictures of the meeting, the radio was already speaking about Daniele and the press agencies were reporting, word by word, the dialogue between the Pope and the boy, when Mrs. Brava received a phone call from her son in her office.

Annamaria Bravo relates: " That phone call worried me. I asked  him: " Daniele, what happened ?". He answers: " I have made  big trouble ". I was more worried then and I insisted: " Speak, what is it ? ". He told me: " Well, first of all, I have spoken with the Pope, and then... Well, I will be very late because I am in the RAI... " I thought he had gone mad. It took five minutes before I could understand. Anyway, he was worried; he thought he had made trouble, because he would have been late home, and our family is accustomed to order, to punctuality ".

 

Daniele, if in those moments, while you were there together with the Pope, you could have asked him a question, what would you have told him ?

 

DANIELE: " I think ... to tell me, with the words of a Pope, about the emotion he felt when he knew he had been elected ". (...)

 

The Pope, when you were in his audience, had said something about love ...  do you remember perhaps ?

 

DANIELE: " Yes, I remember... He has asked if  everybody really follows Jesus' words: " Love your neighbour as yourself ". Anyway, a sentence like that ... I also remember another thing: at the end of the audience, while he was speaking to the sick, he told them that he, the Pope, had been eight times in the hospital and that he had four operations. Poor Pope ... the Lord had always helped him. This time, without any hospital, in his bed - which wasn't even his own bed, after only a month ... ".

 

Daniele,  have you already made the First Communion ?

 

DANIELE: " Not yet, I am preparing with  Catechism. Two years are necessary for that; I am going twice a week. In May, I will make my First Holy Communion, and ... I will dedicate it to the poor Pope 's soul".

 

On August 26th and in the successive days,  had you had followed by television the election of the Pontiff, his investiture ...?

 

DANIELE: " Yes, I had not missed any transmission. Also, I would have liked to receive his first blessing so much, but no-one could accompany me to Saint Peter 's Square, and I resigned myself to follow all the events on television ... ".

 

If you were told then that, within one month, the Pope would have talked to you...

 

DANIELE: " I certainly wouldn't have believed it. Nor  would  I have believed it if I were told that he would have left us so soon ".

 

We leave Daniele 's house, a small street near Aurelia St., to go the dead Pope, in the centre of Christianity: the Clementine Room. The Pontiff, who sleeps the eternal dream, does not smile any more, but the face is distended. A sad, silent peregrination around, the rigid guards of honour. Daniele approaches  walking quietly, with the same uniform which he wore a few days previously. Now, he does not retain his tears any more. He looks at the colour of the wax face and he whispers to me : " His hands, were so warm, so warm  ... ".

 

Dino Cimagalli

 


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