Fr. Giancarlo Politi, bridge builder with the Chinese Church, has died
Milan (AsiaNews) – Fr. Giancarlo Politi, PIME missionary (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) died last night at 0.15 am. He worked for a long time in Hong Kong and China, weaving strong and stable links with Chinese bishops and Catholic communities. He was also formerly editor of "Mondo e Missione", the monthly magazine of PIME, and of AsiaNews.
Fr. Politi died at the age of 77; he had been a PIME priest for 53 years. In the last stage of his life he had retired to Rancio di Lecco, the home for elderly missionaries, due to his suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The funeral Mass will be celebrated tomorrow in the chapel of the PIME house in Rancio di Lecco at 9.30 am. Then his body will be buried in the PIME cemetery in Villa Grugana.
Born in Abbiategrasso (MI) on March 19, 1942, after attending Milan diocesan seminary, in 1961 he joined PIME in Villa Grugana for a year of formation. He professed his vows on June 25, 1965 and was ordained on June 28, 1966 in Milan by Card. Giovanni Colombo.
Initially placed in charge of vocations and youth movements (1966-67), in 1969 he obtained a license in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University following a period of study of the English language in London. He was then sent to India where he was assigned an assistant in the parish in Mumbai and attended the theological faculty of the Pontifical University of Pune.
Unable to obtain a permanent visa for India, he was transferred to Hong Kong. For several years he was assistant cooperator in Tsuen Wan. Fr. Politi was then called to Italy to be part of the preparatory commission for the General Chapter, and in 1977 he was brought to Milan as deputy director and administrator of the Missionary Center.
In 1981 he returned to Hong Kong, first as parish priest of Yuen Long (N.T.), then, in 1986, with letter from the superior general, he was appointed Director of the HK Press Office and of the AsiaNews Agency. Recalled to Italy in 1993, he was appointed Director of the Missionary Center in Milan and in 2001 he was requested by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP) as an expert on Chinese questions. After the expiry of his mandate in 2003, he was appointed spiritual director in the PIME theological seminary in Monza and from 1 April 2012 to 30 April 2014 he was the legal representative of PIME in Italy.
In 2017, for health reasons, he moved to the Rancio community, have become aware of his illness - Alzheimer's disease. In a long interview, in a project promoted by the Alzheimer Italy Federation, he reaches out to people who are living his same condition saying: “You are fathers and mothers, or brothers and sisters, even when you are sick. Don't weep over yourself. Medicines are only part of our life. What matters is the beauty of being alive".