Rev. FRACCARO, Valeriano PIME
Birth in Castelfranco Veneto (威尼托堡),
Italy: [15 March 1913]
Priest found murdered in his quarters
A well-loved and popular Roman Catholic priest, Father Valeriano Fraccaro, was found brutally murdered early yesterday in his church quarters in Sai Kung.
The gagged and bound naked body of the 62-year-old priest was discovered by another priest when he returned to the quarters in Sung Tsun School shortly after midnight yesterday.
Police inverstigators found multiple chopper wounds on the top and back of the priest’s head. His hands, tied behind his back, were bruised and swollen.
A police forensic pathologist estimated that the murder was committed between 10.30 pm and midnight on Saturday.
Father Fraccaro was the director of the Sung Tsun Middle School’s management committee and baked bread for needy people in the area.
The motive for the killing remains a mystery as the priest was well-loved and very popular with the villagers.
However, an anonymous caller rang the South China Morning Post last night and gave what he claimed to be the motive for the brutal murder. The information has been passed on to detectives in charge of the case.
Father Fraccaro was last seen alive when he had dinner with two other priests, Father F. Frontini and Father A. Lambertoni.
The two priests then went out to preach in nearby villages, leaving Father Fraccaro alone in his quarters.
Residents near the school claimed to have seen three cars parked outside the priest’s quarters shortly after 10pm. But the cars later disappeared.
Father Fraccaro normally takes a bath after dinner, then goes to pray in the school chapel before retiring.
When Father Frontini returned to the quarters, he found the body of Father Fraccaro sprawled on the floor and blood everywhere. Two bloodstained towels were draped over Father Fraccaro’s legs.
He also found that the telephone line had been cut and had to call the police from a nearby store.
Detectives found that the killers had got in through the bathroom window. There were signs of a struggle and nothing was stolen.
A teacher at the school, Sister Kwok Kwai-ching, said she heard voices coming from Father Fraccaro’s quarters about 10pm.
They were men’s voices, but she could not make out what language was spoken. She added that it did not sound like Chinese to her.
When she returned to her quarters at 11pm, she saw that the lights in Father Fraccaro’s room were still on.
News of Father Fraccaro’s murder was received with anger and disbelief by residents of Sai Kung when they arrived at the local Catholic Church yesterday for Mass.
Many of them stumbled and looked dazed, shaking their heads at the horror of it all.
For the past 12 years, Father Fraccaro - a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions - had been serving in churches in the New Territories. He came to Hong Kong in 1952 after he was expelled by the communists in China.
Father Fraccaro had spent 15 years in China. He was sent to Shan Shi Province in 1937 and had preached in a number of churches throughout the province.
It was also learnt that he had been interned as a prisoner of war during the Japanese invasion of China.
Before becoming parish priest of Sai Kung, he had been rector of Shatin, Castle Peak and Shueng Shui.
During his years in the New Territories, Father Fraccaro was regarded with great affection by his parishioners.
According to close friends, his family were bakers by profession, which accounted for his own particular skill at the oven.
A church member and friend of Father Fraccaro for nine years, Mr. Chan Che-keung said yesterday: “I received the tragic news from Father Lambertoni about one o’clock on Sunday morning. It seemed like a nightmare. I just couldn’t believe it.
“I couldn’t think of any reason for the murder. He was such a good-natured person and so amiable that all the people of Sai Kung liked him.”
Apart from his parish work they remember him best for the delicious cakes and bread he baked for them.
“They enjoyed his special Italian cakes and bread very much. And he used to bring bread for the poor people when he was out preaching,” Mr. Chan said.
“So far as I know Father Fraccaro’s second love was to bake bread,” said another parishioner, Mr. Cheung Kun-lin, who was an altar boy in the church when the priest came to Sai Kung.
“He once said to me: ‘One should do his best to serve the people and as I have the skill to make bread why not do it for the poor?’”
Parishioners were busy yesterday helping to arrange a memorial Mass for Father Fraccaro.
“To me, Father Fraccaro was not only our priest, he was also my teacher,” said Mr. Tsui For-fok, another member of the church.
“He had been my teacher in music, in physical training and the Bible. And I learnt from him about life and how to be friendly to people,” he recalled.
Mr. Tsui said the priest used to tour the villages in Sai Kung every day to visit and preach to its residents.
A friend and colleague of Father Fraccaro for seven years, Father Lamberton, said last night: “He was a very good priest and truly devoted himself to God,”
A Requiem Mass will be held for Father Fraccaro tomorrow morning at St. Margaret’s Church, Causeway Bay. The funeral will be held at the Catholic Cemetery, Happy Valley.
30 September 1974
Catholic Priest Slashed To Death
The nude and slashed body of the parish priest of Sai Kung, Father Valeriano Fraccaro, 62, was discovered at his home at Sung Chun School, Sai Kung, early yesterday morning.
The body was found shortly after midnight in a bedroom in the priest’s home by fellow missionary Father Francis Frontini when he returned to the house after celebrating a saints-day at the nearby school.
The dead priest had four slash wounds on the head and a number of what police described as “defensive wounds” on the hands. It is thought that the priest put up a struggle against his killer.
A bath towel was found near the body. It is thought that the dead man was about to take a bath when he was attacked by his killer.
The telephone wires in the house had been cut but there was no sign of anything having been stolen. The house was not ransacked.
The killer apparently entered the house through a downstairs bathroom window, the lower panes of which had been removed.
Described as “an ordinary father doing pastoral missionary work” by other priests of his order, the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, Father Fraccaro had first come to Hong Kong in the early 1950s after nearly 20 years in China.
Father Fraccaro left his homeland , Italy, in the mid-1930 and went to work at the Hung Chung Mission in Sheng Shi.
With the expulsion of foreign priests from China Father Fraccaro came to Hong Kong and worked in Aberdeen, Sha Tin, Castle Peak, and finally Sai Kung.
He went to Sai Kung in 1966 and was a fluent Cantonese speaker. He preached in Cantonese every Sunday.
Within hours of his death two massive banners mourning the passing of Father Fraccaro appeared on the walls of the Shung Chun School.
The school watchman, Mr. Chan Cheung-pong, was appalled at the death of the priest. “We had been friends for a long time, ever since he came to Sai Kung,” Mr. Chan said.
“Everybody liked him very much,” he said.
Mr. Chung Kan-lin who had been an altar-boy at the head priest’s masses said that the priest was well liked by everyone and was very kind.
“I spent my holidays with him when I was at the school here,” Mr. Chung said. “We were good friends and he was well liked.”
Father Fraccaro’s death has been classified as homicide. He is the 76th victim this year.
30 September 1974
Priest’s killers may have murdered Swedes?
Police believe fingerprints found on a bloodstained chopper will help them solve the mystery killing of Father Valerino Fraccaro in Sai Kung.
And they believe the robber who killed the priest on Saturday night may be connected with the recent killing of a Swedish engineer and his wife in nearby Clearwater Bay.
The pattern of entry and killing was the same - though the killer may have worn gloves in the first killing, a police source said.
Sets of the prints have been rushed to the Criminal Records Office for analysis.
Meanwhile police are also checking if officers on roadblock duty may have seen the killers without knowing it.
Police patrols on routine roadblock duty in Clearwater Bay Road checked vehicles leaving Sai Kung on Saturday night - before the killing was reported.
Detectives believe the killers were not Sai Kung villagers, who knew and respected the priest.
“He spent most of his salary to buy canned food for the villagers,” said a detective.
A Requiem Mass for Father
Fraccaro will be held at St. Margaret Church at 3pm tomorrow. Burial services
will take place at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery at Happy Valley at 4pm.
The Star 30 September 1974
A European factory manager was brutally attacked in the bedroom of his Sai Kung bungalow yesterday morning.
A Chinese man, identified only as Kevin, attacked Mr. Roy Pittman, 52, at his bedside about 7:30am, inflicting multiple wounds on his back, shoulder, neck and hands.
The attacker, aged about 24, then took the victim’s car keys and fled in his sports car.
The car, a late model Lancia, was found outside the Happy Building, Yuet Wah Street, Kun Tong, about 3pm.
The keys were given to the caretaker of the building by the attacker, who then ran away. Police were last night still hunting for him.
Police learned of the attack when they received a call from Mr. Pittman, who resides at Lot 306, Che Keng Tauk, Sai Kung.
They found Mr. Pittman covered with blood and rushed him to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
It was learnt that the attacker, who Mr. Pittman said he knew only by his first name Kevin, had spent the night at his house.
Mr. Pittman woke up at 7:30am yesterday to find the attacker standing beside his bed armed with a chopper.
The man then swung the chopper at Mr. Pittman repeatedly. Following the attack, he asked for the keys to Mr. Pittman’s car.
A hospital spokesman yesterday described Mr. Pittman’s condition as “fair.”
The attack follows the murder of Father Valeriano Fraccaro on Saturday night and the murder of a Swedish couple on 22 August.
Police believe there is no connection between the knife attack on Mr. Pittman and the three murders.
Father Fraccaro was found naked, bound and gagged in his quarters early on Sunday morning with a number of knife wounds. The motive for the killing is yet to be established and no arrests have been made.
A Requiem Mass for Father Fraccaro will be concelebrated at St. Margaret’s Church, Happy Valley, at 3pm today. Burial will follow at St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery.
Meanwhile, police believe that the brutal murder of the Swedish couple was a “deliberate assassination.”
Five weeks of investigations have shown that the murder of Mr. Arthur Adelstein and his wife, Vera, was not a case of a bungled burglary.
Detectives now believe Mr. Adelstein an engineer, was viciously hacked to death as he slept. His wife is believed to have died after she awoke and found her husband being murdered.
The couple were both in their 60s. Police at first thought they had been murdered after surprising a burglar in their home in Silver Strand Road, but now believe robbery was not a motive.
They think the house was ransacked after the killings to make it appear as though the murders were the work of burglars.
Mr. Adelstein had five serious wounds. All were inflicted with a heavy knife with a three-inch-wide blade, something like a butcher’s knife.
Three of the wounds, which were hack wounds as opposed to stab wounds, penetrated five inches through his abdomen. Two of the wounds sliced through his ribs.
Police pathologists believe the five wounds were inflicted on Mr. Adelstein as he slept. Three of the wounds would have caused death almost instantly.
“It was a
horrible and brutal murder,” one detective on the case said yesterday. “We have
ruled out robbery as a motive. It appears to be a case of deliberate,
cold-blooded murder of a sleeping man whose wife may have been killed simply
because she woke as her husband was being killed.”
1 October 1974
The priest who was found murdered in his rectory in Sai Kung on Sunday will be buried in Venice his hometown.
Arrangements will be made today for his body to be flown back to Italy.
Meanwhile, about 3000 people, including fishermen from Sai Kung, where Father Valeriano Fraccaro was a parish priest, attended a requiem mass for him at St. Margaret’s Church yesterday afternoon.
Bishop Baker of the Anglican Church was among those who attended the mass, which was said by Monsignor Gabriel Lam.
The mass was immediately followed by a special ceremony at the Catholic cemetery in Happy Valley.
In the morning, Father Fraccaro’s body was laid in the hall of Sung Chun School for friends to pay their last respects to him.
Police working on the case suspect that Father Fraccaro was slain when he ran into an intruder armed with a weapon taken from his kitchen.
Described as “an ordinary Father doing pastoral missionary work” by other priests of his order, the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, Father Fraccaro had first come to Hong Kong in the early 1950s after nearly 20 years in China.
Father Fraccaro, 62, left his homeland in the mid-1930 and went to work at the Hung Chung Mission in Sheng Shi.
With the expulsion of foreign priests from China he came to Hong Kong and worked in Aberdeen, Sha Tin, Castle Peak, and finally Sai Kung.
He has two sisters who are nuns
and a brother who is a priest in Italy.
1 October 1974
The brutal murders of three Europeans in five weeks has failed to shake the rustic tranquility of Sai Kung.
European residents in the area are remaining calm in the apparent rash of brutal crimes against expatriates, insisting that the area is still one of the safest in Hong Kong. There has been no movement out of the district, no demand for increased police protection and no rush to private security guards.
Sai Kung had its first recorded murder six weeks ago when an elderly Swedish couple were found hacked to death in their apartment.
Then, early on Sunday, the gagged and bound body of a Catholic priest, with multiple chopper wounds on the top and back of his head, was found in his church quarters.
On Monday, another European was attacked in his home by a man armed with a chopper, and suffered multiple wounds on the back, shoulder, neck and hands.
“These were isolated incidents,” residents said of the attacks. “People have the idea that everyone in Sai Kung is wealthy, so burglars come out here. This is crime imported from Kowloon.”
“People out here are pretty tough,” another resident said yesterday. “They don’t scare easily.”
“We don’t even lock our apartment door, and this is a great place for children.” one couple reported. But they said they had a large guard dog.
A group of Italian engineers gathered outside the Catholic Church in Sai Kung following a service for the murdered priest, Father Fraccaro, also took the situation calmly.
“It was crazy,” an engineer, who works on the High Island development said of the murder. “But it happens everywhere. It happens in Italy, it happens in England, it happens in Hong Kong.”
The Sub-Divisional Inspector for Sai Kung, Mr. R. Dibbs, said that despite the recent attacks, there was no evidence of a campaign against foreigners in the district.
In April, an American resident was attacked in his home by a gang of young burglars with knives, but they were arrested and are now in prison.
Police now believe that the Swedish couple, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Adelstein, murdered in August, were the victims of a deliberate assassination, so they could have been murdered no matter where they lived.
Father Fraccaro was killed when he stumbled onto a burglar. He was not killed because he was European.
And the chopper attack on the European on Monday was the result of a quarrel.
“There is no crime wave in Sai Kung,” Mr. Dibbs said. “If I were not in the police force, I would still choose to live here.”
And, despite the crimes of
violence in Sai Kung this summer, most residents feel the same way about the
2 October 1974
A large crowd of 1000 parishioners and church members attended a Mass for the late Father Valeriano Fraccaro at St. Margaret’s Church yesterday.
Father Fraccaro, a well-loved and popular Roman Catholic priest, was brutally murdered on Saturday night in his church quarters in Sai Kung.
The Mass was conducted by the Vicar Capitular of the Hong Kong Diocese, Msgr. Gabriel Lam Cheuk-wai, and prayers were said by one of the celebrants, Father C. Speciali.
Most of those who attended the Mass came from the villages in Sai Kung, and Castle Peak, where the late Father Fraccaro had been the parish priest.
In his address, Father Speciali, who had been a classmate of the murdered priest, said there was no reason for the cold-blooded murder.
“Father Fraccaro was such a good-natured person. He loved the Chinese so much.”
During the Mass, many parishioners wept bitterly, especially Father A. Lambertoni and Father F. Frontini, who shared living quarters with Father Fraccaro.
Several church members from Sai Kung Catholic Church were so overcome with grief that they fainted.
After the Mass, a symbolic
funeral ceremony was held at the Catholic Cemetery, Happy Valley. The body of
Father Fraccaro will be flown back to Italy this week.
2 October 1974
Police think that a “chance encounter” with an intruder armed with a weapon taken from his own kitchen cost Father Valeriano Fraccaro, 61, his life.
But, they said, no arrest has been made in connection with the killing of the Italian Parish priest whose body was found at his home at Sung Chun School in Sai Kung early Sunday morning.
Senior Superintendent Mike Davis, of Kowloon Criminal Investigation Division, said yesterday: “It had all the appearance of a chance encounter; they probably stumbled on one another.”
He said police are following up evidence found at the priest’s house.
Asked if Father Fraccaro’s death was connected with the recent killing of a Swedish couple, he replied: “As far as we are concerned, no.”
A requiem mass for the priest
will be held at St. Margaret’s Church at 3pm today. Father Fraccaro will be
buried an hour later at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery, Happy Valley.
2 October 1974
Father Valeriano Fraccaro, (62), PIME, Rector of Sacred Heart Church, Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong, was hacked to death by an unknown assailant in the Sai Kung priests’ house on Saturday, 28 September 1974.
The two other priests in Sai Kung, Father Frontini and Lambertoni had been celebrating evening Mass in a neighbouring village. On their return they found his dead body bound and bearing wounds suggesting that Father Fraccaro had struggled with his armed attacker.
The killer had forced an entry through a window. The telephone wires had been cut. Nothing had been taken from the house.
It is exceptionally hard to guess the motive for the crime. Father Fraccaro was an outstanding kindly and inoffensive man, who made friends quickly wherever he went. His hobby was baking cakes as presents for his neighbours. In over 15 years as a missionary in China and 22 years in Hong Kong, he was pre-eminently a founder of mission-stations. He seemed unaffected by personal discomfort and so put up easily with the practical inconveniences of a new station. His power of making friends banished loneliness. His unfailing optimism and trust in God carried him through periods of seemingly unrewarding work.
His parishioners, his many other friends and his fellow priests are not merely saddened by the loss of Father Fraccaro; they are bewildered by the thought that anyone could deliberately kill so gentle, simple and loving a man.
Father Fraccaro was born on 15
March 1913 at Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, joined the PIME in 1934, was ordained
on 4 April 1937 in Milan, and served in Hang-chung (1937-1952) and Hong Kong
4 October 1974
Murder of priest a one-man job
Police believe that only one man was involved in the murder of Father Valeriano Fraccaro in his quarters in the Sung Tsun Middle School in Sai Kung on Saturday night.
They are now following up certain leads and are stepping up their investigations.
A senior police officer in charge of the case said yesterday: “We think the killer is probably a burglar who was surprised by the priest.”
He said the police also believed that the primary motive of the killer was gain.
The officer added that the case
was an isolated one and had no connection with the murder of a Swedish couple in
Sai Kung in August.
4 October 1974
A high ranking police officer investigating the murder of Italian Catholic priest Father Valeriano Fraccaro, in Sai Kung on Sunday, said yesterday he was confident the killer would be soon arrested.
He said that several clues had given the police a lead towards finding the killer who murdered the priest in his rectory next to the Sung Chun School as he was about to have a bath.
He said that he believed the
death of the priest was not premeditated, while the murder of Mr. Arthur
Adelstein and his wife Vera was a deliberate assassination.
4 October 1974
Chinese Press Comment
Murder in the air
Tin Tin Yat Po: - The incidence of murder reached a very crucial stage when the 76 homicide was the death of a kind-hearted, religious man - the parish priest of Sai Kung.
The butchered body of the priest was found lying at his Hemet the Sung Tsun school in Sai Kung. There were about 30 wounds found on his body.
With this inhumane murder we found ourselves faced with many queries: Where is the safest place in Hong Kong? When will we be able to curb the crime rate? Is there really a way of stopping this ever-increasing problem? And is it true that these thugs have come to a stage where they must kill someone to satisfy themselves?
As far as we can see, these thugs have really hit rock bottom. Aside from robbery, they now also kill their victims. Life to them is no longer a treasure.
Many blame the police, and others have criticised our legal system being too lenient with the law-breakers.
The reason they give is that these criminals not only escape from the law, but also can escape from police custody. Don’t these incidents show that our legal system as well as the police force are inefficient?
Since the two parties are not playing their roles, it is therefore entirely up to the people to protect themselves. And they have to gamble with their own lives.
It is now not the time to give
superficial comments as to who is responsible for the soaring crime rate. We
want to have good and concrete measures and we want to see effective results.
6 October 1974
On Sunday, 29 September, the Legion of Mary celebrated its Silver Jubilee in Hong Kong, the Columban Sisters celebrated the Golden Jubilee of their congregation, and the diocese of Hong Kong mourned Father Fraccaro, PIME, who had been brutally murdered: two joyful occasions and one sad: three fruitful reminders of a cherished past.
Commemoration of persons or happenings is little more than a sentimental gesture if we content ourselves with looking back, if we fail to gain strength and inspiration from all that we commemorate. The triple stirring of memory last Sunday was rich in inspiration and strength.
The horror surrounding Father Fraccaro’s death added poignancy to the sorrow that his passing would have evoked under any circumstances. That sharp sorrow will pass; but the lesson of his life will abide. The tributes paid in recent days to his zeal, friendliness, unselfishness and charity were not mere obituary courtesies; they were echoes of what was said about him before his death. (The brief character sketch given in last week’s Sunday Examiner was a summary of remarks made years ago by Bishop Bianchi in casual conversation.) To his parishioners he will remain a leader in Christian humanity and friendship; to his fellow priests he has left a memory of unaffected charity and cheerful readiness to do any work that was needed - two virtues whose value remains unchanged in a changing world.
Blind imitation of the past
stultifies. Right appreciation of the past spurs us on to face the challenges of
the future as our predecessors faced the challenges of their times.
11 October 1974
Father Fraccaro’s Exequies
Sad but Proud Liturgical Farewell to Murdered Priest
Requiem Mass was celebrated in St. Margaret’s
Church, Happy Valley, Hong Kong, on 1 October 1974 for the late Father Valeriano Fraccaro,
PIME, whose murder was reported briefly in our last issue.
The congregation of mourners crammed and overflowed the church. A large group of Father Fraccaro’s Sai Kung parishioners had come from the New Territories. Some in the congregation of priests, religious and laity had come in sympathy with the diocese and the PIME, but it was clear that personal affection for the dead priest and personal shock on the loss of a dear friend through murder was the dominant emotion.
The homily was given by Father C. Speziali, PIME, a friend of four decades’ standing. It will be found elsewhere on this page.
The funeral at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley, was a touching farewell to a friend. Many broke into tears. Nevertheless, it was a scene of inspiring love and confidence rather than of mourning.
Homily by Father Cyril Speziali, PIME, at the Requiem for Father Fraccaro.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Our beloved Father Valeriano Fraccaro, Rector of Saikung district, is no longer to be seen among us. We have all read in the newspapers the tragic news - “Priest Brutally Murdered in his Quarters” - 77th Murder this Year.
Of Father Fraccaro personally, we can say that he has left exile and returned to the Father. As St. Paul says “To live in the body means to be exiled from the Lord.” It is better to be exiled from the body and make our home with the Lord.
Although dear Father Fraccaro did not shed his blood directly for the Faith, I believe that the cruel death he endured gained for him the reward of the martyrs of Christ. He participated in the sufferings of Christ. It was for the sake of Christ and His Gospel that he left everything and exposed his life to danger. He was in fact the fourth priest to be murdered in the New Territories districts in recent years. I am then sure that he heard from Christ the consoling words “well done, good and faithful servant, come and join your Master’s happiness.” Father Fraccaro can repeat the words of St. Paul: I have fought the good fight, I have run the race to the finish. I have kept the faith.
By his death Father Fraccaro celebrated his personal paschal mystery. As a brave soldier he has won the final victory. He has ceased to be a wayfarer because he has reached his ultimate state, the very reason of our existence, the vision of God. Death is the end of our wayfarer state. For the Christian, death is lovable (though fearful) for the same reason that life is lovable: in and through life and death, we reach God.
Nevertheless, for us who have been left behind, for his relatives (I know of five brothers, two of whom are priests), for his beloved flock, the Catholics of Sai Kung, Castle Peak and Shatin for whom he worked for twenty years, the news of Father Fraccaro’s death was shocking in the extreme, terrible. It sounds unbelievable, As Jesus said of Nathanael, he was a true Israelite, incapable of deceit, so good-natured, so amiable. He was my classmate in theology. I knew him from 1933 onward. I never knew him lose his temper. We used play jokes on him all the time - once I even hid under his bed to scare him. He never took offence. His invariable reaction was a gentle smile.
He loved the Chinese people very dearly. He was Chinese in everything except his nose. He was a true missionary, simple and humble, touring his villages on his bicycle. He could not possibly have made enemies. We are baffled.
We might be tempted to say, like King David when two assassins killed the son of Saul. “Bandits have killed an honest man in his house. Am I not bound to demand an account of his blood from you and wipe you from the earth?” But we are under the New Testament. We accept the dispositions, the permissions, of Divine Providence, knowing that for those who love God, all things work for their good. Therefore we pronounce our “Fiat”.
In the word of God we have a partial answer to this mystery. The mystery of iniquity is always at work in the world. Wicked men, workers of iniquity, have done this, An epidemic of violence is sweeping over the whole world, inspired by him who was a murderer form the beginning. This tragic happening makes us realise what the world would be if mankind had no belief in God.
We are celebrating this Mass for the repose of Father Fraccaro’s soul. For myself, I feel inclined to pray to him rather than for him. The priests and the faithful of Hong Kong have a new protector in heaven, Father Fraccaro, beloved by God and men. Immortality perpetuates his memory.
11 October 1974
To the Memory of Father Valeriano Fraccaro, P.I.M.E.
In the late hours of Saturday, 28 September
1974, Father Fraccaro, aged 61, was found murdered in his residence at Sai Kung, New
Territories, Hong Kong.
As we mourn, sad and stunned, this untimely tragic death, we would like to share the following scanty notes about the life, otherwise wholly uneventful and routine-like, of a priest whom anyone could not but like and love. It can be said that nothing in the life of this one priest “made news” for the big public, except his absurd tragic death.
Father Fraccaro was born at Castlfranco Veneto, Italy, in 1913; joined the PIME Missionary Society in 1934; was ordained priest in April 1937; in August of the same year he left for Mainland China, being assigned to the Hang-chung (Mission, Shensi Province). He took up residence at the ku-lu-pa Mission Station and devoted himself to the study of the language, He served first as assistant in Pao-cheng District, then, in Yen-tz-pien District. During the years 1943-1944, because of World War II, he was interned as prisoner of war at Lo-yan, in the Shensi Province. After the War he served as rector of Pao-cheng District for five years, until October 1952, when, being expelled from Mainland China, he joined the Hong Kong Diocese, where he worked till his death 22 years later.
At first he served one year as assistant at St. Peter’s Parish in Aberdeen; then, he served as assistaint in Fanling District, but in charge of the newly established district of Shatin. For three years he was rector of the independent district of Shatin; then, in 1960 he was appointed rector of the newly formed district of Castle Peak. In February 1966 he was appointed rector of the Saikung District, and there he worked up to his tragic death.
Twenty-two years in Hong Kong and fifteen years in Mainland China sum up Father Fraccaro’s life-long dedication to his sionary vocation. Countless throngs of people, both in Mainland China and in Hong Kong, will remember the humble, good-humoured, dedicated “priest-baker” (Father’s nick-name form his well-known skills in baking breads and cakes), who, along with the "breaking of the bread" of God's Word and the Eucharist, shared with them also the breads and cakes of his own making.
To his fellow missionary priests Father Fraccaro was the amiable, good-natured companion who enjoyed to the full the endless, lively discussions in theological matters, over a good piece of cake, Italian-style, and “grappa”; always ready to enter into, or stir up, a vivacious debate over moral problems, theological speculations and juridical subtleties. We should like to sum up these scanty notes on a wonderful, simple, widely-beloved priest, with the statement of the young priest who spent his first seven years of missionary work in Hong Kong as assistant to Father Fraccaro: “He was a very good priest and truly devoted himself to God.”
A solemn concelebrated Requiem Mass was offered at St. Margaret’s Church in Happy Valley on Tuesday, 1 October 1974 by Father Gabriel Lam, as chief concelebrant, and a large number of his confreres. Father lam also gave the farewell blessing and officiated at the graveside in St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery in Happy Valley. The large gathering of people in the churches of Saikung and St. Margaret's and at the cemetery bore witness to the deep affection in which Father Fraccaro was held.
In compliance with their mother’s last wish, that all her sons be buried around her in the family tomb, Father Fraccaro’s surviving brothers, upon receiving the sad news of their brother’s tragic death, requested that his slain body be flown back home. With this unusual but legitimate request Church authorities could but comply. The Vicar Capitular Father Gabriel Lam and the Regional Superior of the PIME Missionaries in Hong Kong, Father Commissari, express appreciation and thankfulness to all those who, by way of expressions of sympathy, prayers, or by practical help, have comforted and strengthened the priests, religious and faithful of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong in one of their darkest hours.
11 October 1974
今 晨 一 時 新 界 西 貢 發 生 一 宗 謀 殺 案 ， 一 名 意 大 利 籍 校 監 神 父 全 身 赤 裸 手 腳 被 反 縛 ， 口 內 塞 有 手 巾 ， 背 有 傷 痕 仆 死 在 神 父 宿 舍 內 ， 死 者 神 父 深 得 西 貢 村 民 愛 戴 ， 報 警 後 見 警 車 及 十 字 車 遲 遲 未 到 ， 曾 發 生 鼓 噪 ， 但 事 實 神 父 可 能 已 死 去 多 時 。
死 者 神 父 名 范 賚 亮 ， 五 十 餘 歲 ， 係 西 貢 區 本 堂 神 父 及 崇 真 學 校 校 監 ， 居 住 在 西 貢 巴 士 總 站 斜 路 上 一 幢 兩 層 高 樓 宇 ； 上 址 樓 宇 有 三 名 神 父 居 住 樓 上 ， 分 成 三 個 小 房 ， 范 神 父 住 二 樓 上 梯 右 邊 睡 房 ， 昨 晚 深 夜 十 一 時 四 十 五 分 另 外 一 名 姓 馮 外 藉 神 父 由 白 鶴 村 返 ， 見 范 房 門 虛 掩 ， 推 門 發 覺 他 仆 死 房 內 ， 曾 上 前 推 看 ， 發 覺 已 無 知 覺 ， 而 浴 室 內 浴 缸 滿 水 ， 相 信 係 準 備 洗 浴 時 發 現 有 人 撬 門 或 入 屋 ， 出 視 時 被 人 制 服 殺 害 。
上 址 三 神 父 在 昨 晚 八 時 前 范 神 父 及 林 神 父 、 馮 神 父 ， 三 人 聯 同 晚 膳 ， 並 安 排 週 末 彌 撒 ， 飯 後 林 神 父 到 香 港 ， 馮 神 父 到 白 鶴 村 ， 及 後 馮 神 父 返 發 現 此 宗 謀 殺 。
宿 舍 對 下 係 天 主 堂 ， 除 三 名 外 籍 神 父 外 ， 尚 有 兩 名 小 童 及 一 名 李 姓 看 更 人 ， 兩 小 童 均 放 假 外 出 而 看 更 已 入 睡 而 且 三 人 所 住 均 距 離 甚 遠 之 麵 包 房 ， 故 事 發 時 毫 無 跡 象 。 在 現 場 有 無 財 物 損 失 一 時 未 知 。 但 樓 下 電 話 線 被 割 斷 ， 電 燈 亦 被 毀 壞 ， 相 信 係 劫 匪 所 破 壞 。 而 且 縛 神 父 係 用 浴 巾 ， 塞 口 係 其 所 用 面 巾 ， 雙 手 已 腫 ， 身 上 及 面 部 被 刀 割 達 三 十 餘 刀 ， 估 計 可 能 因 劫 匪 得 悉 該 校 係 近 日 糧 期 ， 以 為 可 以 用 迫 供 辦 法 ， 將 崇 真 學 校 糧 款 劫 走 。 不 意 范 神 父 寧 死 拒 交 。 現 場 無 兇 器 發 現 。
死 者 在 西 貢 區 深 得 村 民 愛 戴 ， 並 且 不 時 幫 助 一 些 窮 苦 青 少 年 就 學 ， 並 幫 助 其 他 各 方 面 生 活 ， 故 昨 日 一 旦 遇 害 ， 咸 感 惋 惜 ， 估 計 遇 害 時 係 在 晚 上 八 時 四 十 五 分 至 十 一 時 四 十 五 分 間 被 害 。 宿 舍 對 開 空 地 初 時 有 三 輛 私 家 車 在 ， 但 事 發 後 發 現 只 有 兩 車 ， 均 屬 神 父 所 有 ， 一 輛 白 車 不 知 所 蹤 ， 而 且 近 日 亦 有 陌 生 人 物 出 現 ， 神 父 房 內 曾 被 搜 凌 亂 ， 房 內 除 一 衣 櫃 一 床 外 ， 所 掛 衣 服 亦 撒 滿 地 ， 有 否 損 失 尚 未 知 。
東方日報 1974 年 9 月 30 日
宗 座 外 方 傳 教 會 義 大 利 籍 會 士 范 賚 亮 神 父 ， 上 有 廿 八 日 深 夜 被 人 謀 殺 ， 倒 斃 西 貢 堂 區 寓 所 內 。 警 方 現 正 偵 查 中 。
范 神 父 一 九 一 三 年 三 月 十 五 日 生 於 義 大 利 ， 一 九 三 四 年 加 入 米 蘭 的 宗 座 外 方 傳 教 會 ， 一 九 三 七 年 晉 鐸 ， 同 年 八 月 奉 派 來 華 ， 在 中 國 陝 西 省 傳 教 。
一 九 五 二 年 十 月 十 一 日 ， 范 神 父 被 大 陸 當 局 驅 逐 出 境 ， 來 港 後 加 入 本 港 教 區 ， 曾 先 後 在 沙 田 、 青 山 、 上 水 和 西 貢 等 地 服 務 。
范 神 父 為 人 慈 祥 ， 遇 害 的 消 息 傳 出 後 ， 新 界 教 友 鄉 民 等 極 表 哀 傷 。
安 所 彌 撒 於 本 月 一 日 下 午 三 時 在 聖 瑪 加 利 大 堂 舉 行 ， 范 神 父 遺 體 隨 於 下 午 四 時 安 葬 跑 馬 地 天 主 教 墳
1974 年 10 月 4 日
本 港 教 區 米 蘭 會 范 賚 亮 神 父 於 一 九 七 四 年 九 月 廿 八 日 深 夜 ， 在 西 貢 寓 所 內 遭 喪 盡 天 良 的 暴 徒 殺 害 ， 上 週 二 本 港 教 區 在 跑 馬 地 聖 瑪 加 利 大 堂 舉 行 追 思 彌 撒 。 該 日 追 思 彌 撒 除 有 特 別 多 的 神 父 、 修 女 、 西 貢 及 新 界 區 教 友 參 加 外 ， 香 港 基 督 教 聖 公 會 白 約 翰 會 督 也 親 臨 聖 堂 為 亡 者 祈 禱 。
該 日 追 思 彌 撒 ， 由 林 焯 煒 神 父 及 二 十 位 神 父 主 持 共 祭 ， 由 范 神 父 同 窗 濟 利 祿 神 父 主 持 講 道 ， 濟 神 父 指 出 ： 范 賚 亮 神 父 是 今 日 香 港 暴 力 社 會 的 犧 牲 者 ， 他 雖 非 直 接 為 信 仰 而 流 血 ， 但 已 得 到 殉 道 的 榮 冠 ， 因 他 受 到 像 殉 道 者 一 般 的 慘 死 。 范 神 父 已 是 西 貢 區 第 四 位 被 暴 徒 殺 害 的 司 鐸 ， 他 已 與 基 督 一 同 受 苦 ， 也 一 定 與 基 督 一 同 進 入 永 生 ； 他 的 死 為 香 港 教 會 、 為 他 的 親 友 、 為 西 貢 及 新 界 的 教 友 是 一 種 悲 慘 ， 這 樣 良 善 的 人 竟 被 害 死 ， 實 在 使 人 大 惑 不 解 。 范 神 父 的 一 生 都 常 是 愉 快 與 微 笑 待 人 ， 他 愛 中 國 人 ， 是 一 位 被 稱 為 中 國 化 的 傳 教 士 。 目 前 所 見 的 暴 力 現 象 應 提 醒 我 們 ， 人 若 不 信 主 ， 無 法 無 天 的 惡 行 將 擴 展 ， 世 界 變 成 殘 暴 的 世 界 。 最 後 濟 神 父 強 調 ， 我 們 祈 求 范 神 父 的 轉 禱 ， 勝 過 為 他 祈 禱 ， 因 為 他 已 成 了 天 人 的 主 保 。 我 們 更 應 以 天 主 的 安 慰 去 接 受 此 事 ， 承 行 主 旨 。
追 思 彌 撒 後 ， 范 神 父 遺 體 於 該 日 下 午 四 時 在 天 主 教
墳 場 舉 行 殯 葬 儀 式 ， 並 應 范 神 父 家 人 之 請 ， 運 返 義
大 利 故 鄉 安 葬 云。
我 懷 著 萬 分 悲 痛 的 心 情 ， 悼 念 我 敬 愛 的 范 賚 亮 神 父 ！
范 賚 亮 神 父 ， 於 一 九 七 四 年 九 月 廿 八 日 深 夜 ， 在 新 界 西 貢 墟 天 主 堂 神 父 宿 舍 二 樓 ， 被 歹 徒 謀 殺 ， 身 上 傷 痕 處 處 ， 血 跡 斑 斑 ， 因 而 不 治 逝 世 。
五 ０ 年 代 初 期 ， 我 認 識 范 神 父 ， 他 是 意 大 利 人 ， 天 主 教 米 蘭 外 方 傳 教 會 神 父 ， 年 約 六 十 歲 。 他 曾 到 過 中 國 北 方 傳 教 (陝 西 省 北 部) 十 多 年 之 久 ， 說 得 一 口 流 利 國 語 及 粵 語 ， 並 能 書 寫 流 暢 的 中 國 文 字 。 每 次 敘 談 ， 他 都 提 及 陝 北 往 事 ， 懷 念 故 人 。
五 十 一 年 夏 天 ， 他 主 持 新 界 沙 田 天 主 堂 區 工 作 。 該 區 新 建 立 ， 一 切 傳 教 計 劃 從 頭 做 起 ， 因 此 他 經 常 往 返 於 各 鄉 村 間 ， 早 晚 寒 暑 ， 從 不 間 斷 ， 如 馬 鞍 山 、 小 瀝 源 、 曾 大 屋 、 李 屋 村 、 垌 心 、 隔 田 、 洞 心 、 大 圍 、 白 田 、 排 頭 、 上 下 和 輋 、 火 炭 等 村 莊 。 不 論 村 人 或 教 友 ， 都 樂 於 交 談 。 在 能 力 範 圍 內 ， 亦 樂 於 助 人 。 那 時 適 值 本 地 人 口 驟 增 ， 因 此 社 會 工 作 也 顯 得 繁 忙 ！ 五 十 年 代 末 ， 六 十 年 代 初 ， 他 又 奉 調 青 山 新 墟 天 主 堂 ， 該 堂 乃 是 新 建 立 。 堂 區 工 作 ， 仍 本 沙 田 過 去 精 神 ， 開 山 鋪 路 ， 宣 傳 天 主 教 義 ， 甚 得 各 方 人 士 愛 戴 ！ 六 十 年 代 中 期 ， 改 派 西 貢 地 區 ， 並 任 崇 真 中 學 校 監 。
沙 田 、 新 墟 兩 個 地 區 的 工 作 ， 我 都 參 與 ， 因 此 知 之 甚 詳 。 長 期 以 來 與 神 父 一 起 工 作 ， 一 同 食 飯 ， 睡 覺 只 隔 一 層 單 磚 房 。 工 作 之 餘 ， 無 所 不 談 ， 有 時 深 夜 談 興 尤 濃 ！
范 賚 亮 神 父 是 個 優 秀 的 傳 教 士 ， 刻 苦 、 勤 儉 、 樸 素 。 幾 十 年 來 ， 忠 於 教 會 ， 堅 持 工 作 ， 努 力 為 人 類 服 務 。
范 神 父 一 旦 逝
世 ， 使 我 們 失 去 老 朋 友 ， 亦 是 教 會 的 一 大 損 失 。 我 們 悼 念 他 ， 應 該 學 習 他 奮 鬥 的 精 神 去 完 成
天 主 的 使 命 。
1974 年 10 月 18 日
新 界 西 貢 聖 心 堂 區 教 友 ， 將 於 本 月 廿 八 日 (主 日) 上 午 八 時 正 ， 特 別 為 已 故 前 本 堂 司 鐸 范 賚 神 父 遇 害 逝 世 一 週 年 而 舉 行 追 思 彌 撒 。
范 神 父 為 意 籍 米 蘭 會 神 父 ， 一 九 三 七 年 晉 鐸 後 ， 遠 道 來 中 國 陝 西 漢 中 府 傳 教 ， 經 四 年 的 辛 勞 ， 普 澤 教 民 ， 惜 因 中 日 戰 爭 被 牽 連 ， 而 被 軟 禁 近 一 年 。 戰 爭 結 束 後 ， 繼 續 開 始 傳 教 工 作 。 一 九 四 九 年 後 ， 雖 然 政 權 轉 易 ， 仍 在 大 陸 執 行 牧 民 工 作 ， 直 至 一 九 五 二 年 才 抵 港 休 養 。 一 九 五 四 年 奉 委 主 理 沙 田 堂 區 工 作 ， 一 九 六 ０ 年 轉 任 青 山 堂 區 牧 民 工 作 ， 一 九 六 六 年 二 月 奉 調 管 理 西 貢 堂 區 ， 一 九 七 三 年 六 月 返 意 國 度 假 ， 一 九 七 四 年 四 月 返 港 ， 繼 續 在 西 貢 服 務 ， 豈 料 不 及 半 年 竟 遭 橫 禍 。 范 神 父 遇 害 迄 今 已 整 整 一 年 ， 惜 本 港 治 安 當 局 仍 未 能 將 兇 徒 緝 捕 歸 案 ， 能 不 令 人 唏 噓 。
1975 年 9 月 19 日
◆ 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.