by Fr Antonio Ritaccio
On Monday 30th October at Westminster Cathedral Cardinal Vincent presided over a Mass of thanksgiving, for the contributions that Fr Francesco Donega has made to the diocese over the past 23 years, most recently as Rector of Redemptoris Mater House of Formation in London. On loan from the Diocese of Rome since 1994, Fr Francesco had now completed his time in London and was due to return to his home diocese.
During his homily, the Cardinal thanked Fr Francesco for the significant role he has played in the formation of the 15 diocesan priests whose vocations were fostered in the Neocatechumenal Way. He also praised him for the crucial role he has played in helping the Neocatechumenal Way to flower both in the Diocese of Westminster and in the life of the Church in England and Wales.
At the end of Mass Fr Francesco affectionately greeted the Cardinal and those who had come to show their support, explaining that he was returning to Italy earlier than expected because of poor health.
Present at the Mass were also Bishop John Sherrington, as well as Bishop Paul Hendricks from the Diocese of Southwark, staff and students of Allen Hall and over 40 priests.
Fr Francesco has now taken up a new role as the Vice-Rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome. We wish him every blessing in this new chapter of his life.
Fr Antonio Ritaccio is Parish Priest at Five Precious Wounds, Stonebridge and was the first priest ordained from the Redemptoris Mater in 1999.