· In memory of a friend ·
Raffaele Alessandrini died in the last hours of Monday, 30 July. He had reached the age of 60 last 8 February and for several weeks had been struggling — calmly — with a threatening tumour which in his last days proved devastating and inexorable. Raffaele was the younger son of Giuseppina Celani and Federico, one of the great laymen who served the Holy See with intelligence and faithfulness between the 1930s and the 1970s. He became Assistant Editor of our newspaper from 1961 to 1970 and then, from 1970 to 1976, the unforgettable director of the Holy See Press Office.
Raffaele was born in Rome and baptized at home — in Via Benedetto XIV 21 and from which the dome of St Peter could be seen — by Mons. Giovanni Battista Montini, a friend of his father’s, who was then Substitute of the Secretariat of State.
After attending the Virgilio Senior School specializing in classical studies, Raffaele earned a degree in the history of the Risorgimento at the University of Rome. He started work with our newspaper in 1980 and in 1983 entered the editorial office of the Italian news column as a trainee.
The year was a turning point for Raffaele, for his father died three months later and his brother, Fr Giorgio, soon afterwards blessed his marriage with Elide Parisi with whom he had an only daughter, Miriam, born in 1986.
In 1984 he became editor of our newspaper and it was not long before he was put in charge of the Sunday insert that replaced L’Osservatore della Domenica, the newspaper founded in 1934 which in 1947 became an autonomous organ edited by Enrico Zuppi.
In 2007 Raffaele switched to the cultural service where he devoted his work to the entire newspaper with extraordinary generosity; as he did likewise during the long period of our 150th anniversary, preparing with equal enthusiasm and painstaking care the commemorative exhibition inaugurated last 7 March at the Senate of the Italian Republic by President Giorgio Napolitano, in the presence of Renato Schifani, President of the Italian Senate, Mario Monti, Prime Minister and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State.
With Raffaele Alessandrini L’Osservatore Romano has not only lost a passionate journalist, a crystal-clear Christian and an exemplary servant of the Holy See, but also a part of its historical memory. And those who knew him since his teenage years and never broke off the strong and invisible bond — which even then exceeded the limited time of our existence on this earth — are mourning a very dear friend who sent this text message to the youngest of them in his last weeks: “When we do his will everything always goes well. In the meantime, we are fighting!”.
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