Last Sunday, Judy and I returned to Assisi to attend a memorial mass for Don Aldo Brunnaci. In case you didn’t know, Don Aldo was the canon of Chiesa San Rufino and the host of the pilgrimage house Casa Papa Giovanni xxxiii, where I stayed during my first visit to Assisi. San Rufino is the church where St, Francis, St. Clare and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II were baptised.
The baptismal font is still there at the back of the church as your enter, and to the right is a painting by I-don’t –know-who, maybe Dono Doni of a baptism. Guess whose. Most importantly, Don Aldo was a great man, a hero, quite possibly a saint, who was protected dozens of Jewish refugees who came to Assisi seeking refuge during the Holocaust.I was at his funeral last year at this time and glad I was here for the memorial. At the church, we were greeted by Rita, Don Aldo’s assistant, the cook – whose name I couldn’t recall – and Sorella Johanna, a pilgrimage Sister. Johanna had served Don Aldo as Eucharistic Minister during his last days. I was introduced to Vescovo Sorrentino, the Bishop of Assisi, who was saying the Mass. He greeted us warmly in Italian: “Molto piacere!” and beamed as Rita told him that we represented St. Bonaventure University. Don Aldo had a great affection for our university and pride in the honorary degree it had bestowed upon him in 2002.