Major Rector of Salesians Dies

Argentine Father Juan Edmundo Vecchi Suffered Long Illness

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ROME, JAN. 23, 2002 ( Father Juan Edmundo Vecchi, major rector of the Salesians, died in Rome this morning after a long illness. He was 71 and had led his congregation since 1996.

The news was announced by Father Luc Van Looy, vicar of the Salesian Society of Don Bosco. Father Looy said that Father Vecchi lived his illness, which lasted 19 months, «with serene acceptance.»

Don Bosco´s eighth successor, and the first non-Italian to lead the Salesians, Juan Vecchi was born in Viedma, Argentina, on June 23, 1931, to a family of Italian immigrants. He was a nephew of the Venerable Artemides Zatti, a Salesian who will be beatified in April.

Father Vecchi was known as an innovator in youth pastoral care, a topic on which he edited many books and other publications.

He was also known for his «notable gifts of government, capable of listening and sincerely taking the opinions, suggestions and needs of each one into account,» the International Salesian Information Agency reported.

The Salesian family comprises 17,000 Salesians and more than 17,000 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, active in 128 countries.

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