The late Reverend Father Joseph Berton who died in Italy on 25th June this year, aged 78, is currently being mourned in Sierra Leone. A well attended Mass of the Resurrection (Memorial Mass) was held for him over the weekend at the Saint Peters the Rock Parish, Calaba Town in the east end of Freetown.
|Late Rev. Father Berton Mourned
Delivering his homily during the Mass, His Grace the Metropolitan Archbishop of Freetown Diocese, Bishop Edward Tamba Charles said, the late Man of God translated his work into fatherly work, adding that the late priest was ordained a Catholic Priest in 1956 in Italy.
Bishop Charles said late Rev. Fr. Berton was a creative pastor who mapped out new ways of reaching out to God’s people, adding that he discharged his priestly duties on earth as he was called upon by God amongst many others to lead God’s people to the right path.
Bishop Charles furthered that the late Rev. Fr. Berton was the only Catholic Priest who was transforming traditional beliefs into spiritual beliefs by saying the Rosary with tradition heads and initiates. The late Man of God, he went on, was a true missionary who exhibited his mission work in Sierra Leone by establishing the Family Homes Movement, a multi-faceted entity which comprised of an orphanage, pre-primary, junior and senior secondary schools, and also provided space for leaders in the Church.
He called on all to maintain the legacy left behind by the late priest as he put it “to him be the glory, now and forever”In his tribute, the President of the Board of Trustee for the Family Homes Movement, Mr. Ernest A. Surur said he first met the late priest way back in 1962 whilst he was a pupil at the Kolenten Secondary School, where the late Rev. Fr. Berton was also teaching Religious Knowledge.
He said the Reverend Father was a man who believes in the doctrine of the prodigal son, a man who cares more about others than himself, more so the homeless, war affected and war widows. He revealed that in 1985 when Rev. Fr. Berton returned from a medical treatment in Italy, he established the Family Homes Movement with the sole aim of catering for the poor, homeless, war affected and war widows.
According to Mr. Surur, Rev. Fr. Berton’s happiest moments were when children are around him, when children are in school, when everyone has much to eat and drink and when life is made worth living for all, adding that he will definitely be missed by all.
Mr. Surur disclosed further that prior to his death, the late Rev. Fr. Berton’s wish was for him to be buried in Sierra Leone and as such he joined Sierra Leoneans to appeal to the Berton family members to honor the late man’s wish and bring him back to Freetown to be buried.
Ernest said he was in the hospital in Italy with Rev. Fr. Berton when he was giving up the ghost and that he died with Sierra Leone in his heart.
Representing the Xaverian Missionaries, Fr. Michael said the late priest was a true Xaverian priest who fulfilled his mission work on earth before he died. He said for this and other reasons, he will forever be remembered by all.
The newly ordained Bishop of Makeni, His Grace Bishop Henry Aruna was also in attendance coupled with galaxy of priests who joined in the Resurrection Mass for the late Man of God.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.