Covid in Uganda: goodbye to 'brother Elio', 40 years in defense of the last for the Combonian
Uganda – The Combonian missionary, another victim of Covid 19, was among the most active peacekeepers in this region affected by the violence of armed militias and then the Ebola epidemic
Brother Elio Croce, for everybody “brother Elio”, a Combonian missionary for almost 40 years in Uganda, one of the most active peace actors in this region affected by the violence of armed militias and then, a few years ago, by the Ebola epidemic, has passed away last night.
Unfortunately, the recent Covid-19 epidemic, which is now spreading also in this country, didn’t give him a chance.
Uganda, the announcement from St. Mary’s Hospital in Lacor: Brother Helios killed by Covid
This is reported by the Corti Foundation, which supports the activities of St. Mary’s Hospital in Lacor, in the northern district of Gulu, where the missionary held the role of the technical chief: “Brother Elio has been the backbone of Lacor since 1985” can be read on the Foundation’s Facebook page.
“Soul mate of Piero Corti, loving father of the Saint Jude orphanage in Gulu, was a good man of immense moral stature. It was an honor to have had him as a companion and to have walked together the land of the Acholi people where, together with Piero and Lucille, he built, brick by brick, a life expectancy for millions of Ugandans”.
Brother Elio, who was 75 years old, was one of the many Combonians who decided to dedicate their mission to Uganda.
Originally from Trentino, he arrived in the country in the 1980s, while the north was threatened by the violence of the Christian and transnational militia of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
A struggle “that you were able to win,” recalled instead the Lacor Hospital, “along with that against Ebola and poverty”.
Brother Helios killed by Covid in Uganda, the condolences Afron
“The disappearance of Brother Elio is a hard blow not only for the local population but also for the many Italian humanitarian organizations working in Uganda, which found a safe point of reference in him”: this is what Tiziana Andriani, president of Afron – Oncology for Africa Onlus, who is present at Lacor Hospital with programs aimed at children suffering from lymphoma in Burkitt, said. “Being Lacor’s chief technician,” said Andriani, “he followed with us the work to create the Smile Cinema that we recently inaugurated in the pediatric oncology department.
The president of Afron recalled the commitment and sensitivity that Brother Elio dedicated to the latter, in particular to children: “At the Saint Jude orphanage, in Gulu, he was particularly concerned with the permanently disabled: he put a lot of effort into supporting them, encouraging them to study.
He also tried to dialogue with their origin families, so that they wouldn’t abandon their children altogether”.
Stigma, poverty, and fears for the future pushed many parents to leave their children with disabilities but, as Andriani recalls, “Father Elio convinced them to let their children study or he took steps to build houses suitable for them to accommodate children in wheelchairs”.
At the time, when the armed group Lra kidnapped the children at night to make them soldiers, “he personally took them safely to hidden facilities,” Andriani added. “He saved many of them”.