Rev. BERETTA, Enrico PIME
Birth in Camparada (蒙薩和布里安薩),
Italy: [23 December 1919]
Joseph’s Church, Garden Road: 
Death of Father Henry Beretta, P.I.M.E.
Father Henry Beretta, PIME, who worked as a
missionary in Hong Kong from 1947 to1968, died at the PIME Rest House, Lecco, Italy, on 11
January 1988, aged 68.
Father Beretta was born near Milan on 23 December 1919. He joined the minor seminary in 1931 and was ordained priest in 1943. After ordination he worked in Italy until 1947, when he came to Hong Kong. After his period of language study, he served in St. Joseph’s Church, Tao-O District, St. Teresa Church, the Cathedral, Diamond Hill, and Rosary Church. He was Parish Priest of Rosary Church from 1957 till 1964, when he was transferred to Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, as lecturer in Latin English, civil and ecclesiastical history, art and music.
During his time in here he played an important part in the musical life of Hong Kong, both as a composer and as a conductor and organizer.
In 1968 his superiors summoned him back to Italy to work there on the promotion of vocations, work that occupied the last twenty years of his life.
22 January 1988
Father Henry Beretta
Father Henry Beretta was born in Lesmo, near Milan, on 23 December 1919.
In 1931 he joined the diocesan minor seminary of Milan.
In 1938 he entered the PIME in Milan.
On 18 December 1943, he was ordained priest.
After a period of pastoral work in some parishes in Italy, he was sent in 1947 to the mission of Hong Kong. His youthful zeal made him very active in different places in Hong Kong - at St. Joseph’s Church, Rosary, St. Teresa’s and Holy Family churches and at Tai O, Lantau Island. Energetic and resourceful, he moved around from place to place, preaching the Gospel, caring for Catholics and making converts.
For a few years, he took charge of the Cathedral Choir and led it to a peak of artistic excellence. He was deeply versed in sacred music. Frequently there were broadcasts either from the Cathedral itself or from the studios of Radio Hong Kong. Masses by great composers were performed with devotion and solemnity. A strong group of young Catholic men and women cooperated enthusiastically with him.
In 1962 Father Beretta was appointed professor in Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen. He taught history, music and the arts. As a lecturer, he was enthusiastic and clear. Under his direction, a group of seminarians made mosaics of Bl. Fra Angelico’s Singing Angels, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Joseph the Worker.
At this time, Father Beretta also had charge of Grantham TB Hospital and brought comfort to the sick.
Though he was a well built man, he was not very strong. In 1968, his superiors brought him back to Italy, but he would never rest. Always, he was on the move from city to city, preaching and propagandizing for the missions and for vocations. He liked preaching. Sometimes he went on too long, but he was always to the point. He used also write for certain music periodicals.
In 1986 he was appointed Rector of the PIME House in Watford, London. In the following year, when going on his bicycle to perform some priestly duties, he suffered a cardiac arrest and suffered injuries from which he was never to recover.
He was brought back to Italy. From there, after two months, he went to the Father’s House to receive the reward prepared by the Lord for his good and loyal servant.
“God is served first” was his motto.
The old members of the Cathedral Choir arranged a Mass to be offered for him in the Cathedral on 18 January, with Latin singing, as a sign of their deep affection for their dedicated conductor, Father Henry Beretta.
D. Bazzo, PIME
29 January 1988
◆ From Milan to Hong Kong 150 Years of Mission, by Gianni Criveller, Vox Amica Press, 2008.
◆ 從米蘭到香港150年傳教使命, 柯毅霖著, 良友之聲出版社, 2008.
◆ 先賢錄－－香港天主教神職及男女修會會士 (1841-2010), 天主教香港教區檔案處, 2010.