Posted on June 10, 2022
The tombs built with the funds of the 8xmille to the Catholic Church
A very touching ceremony that this morning was celebrated in the cemetery of Armo with delivery to the city of graves of migrants realized with the funds of 8xmille to the Catholic Church. Present were the acting mayor Paolo Brunetti, Bishop Morrone and the Prefect Mariani.
Giuseppe Falcomatà, through a post on Facebook, recalled those terrible days:
Forty-five coffins, cold and anonymous metal boxes, which came out of the belly of the Vega motor ship during one of the many landings at the beginning of that very hot summer of 2016. One at a time, carried on the shoulder on the quay by the men of the Coast Guard, they seemed to never end more. A slow and inexorable procession. One coffin after another, lives broken between excruciating screams, drowned in the inexorable waves of the Mediterranean and then fished out by merciful hands. Slowly they passed in front of us and then among the troops of volunteers who prayed in silence, head down, with clenched fists and broken hearts. A scene that we will hardly forget.
We were in the midst of the disembarkation emergency. Southern Italy, Calabria, Sicily were the main landing places for all of Europe and Reggio Calabria gave proof of its proverbial welcome. Children, pregnant women, sick people, barefoot, frightened, fleeing war and hunger. It seemed impossible to try to restore dignity to those fleeing people. But no one backed down, no one. Reggio Calabria, as always, answered present.
On that occasion the problem arose of where to bury those bodies torn apart by the sea. Together with the Councilor Giovanni Muraca, the Delegate Rocco Albanese and the managers of the cemetery services office, we thought of a place that could house the bodies, and after some discussions with the other authorities involved in the reception circuit, the idea came out of the Armo cemetery. There were buried there, in the bare earth, 45 bodies marked only by numbers, which in the following days, as more accurate information arrived on the identity of the bodies recovered, were partly replaced by names. Unfortunately, not all of them, some of them will remain unknown forever, but since then they have been lying there, on our hills. Migrants victims of the sea, victims even before of poverty and war, victims of indifference and human misery.
Thanks to the extraordinary work of the Archdiocese and Caritas, with a project shared with the municipal administration, over the years that cemetery has been transformed, enlarged and refurbished. Today it contains more than 140 niches and continues to house the remains of the last. This morning with a moment of prayer it was given to the Reggio community, a space that must become for all of us a place of memory, a mausoleum, a symbol of solidarity among the peoples of the world.