On Thursday, February 8, 2018, the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio MATTARELLA, bestowed the gold Medal of Civil Merit upon Servant of God Friar Placido CORTESE, OFM Conv. (1907-1944). The President delivered the medal to the friars of the Basilica of St. Anthony at a private ceremony in a room of the Rectorate of the University of Padua. The Servant of God was once the director of the Saint Anthony Messenger. During World War II, he worked tirelessly helping political prisoners, war interns and persecuted Jews.
Our confrere’s humanitarian efforts led to his being tortured and killed by the Nazi Gestapo.
Along with the gold medal, the friars were given a parchment explaining why the commemorative medal was being conferred. It said: “Director of the St. Anthony Messenger, during the Second World War and during the Resistance period he worked, with extraordinary charitable commitment and in spite of significant personal risk, to benefit prisoners interned at a nearby concentration camp, providing them with food, clothing and money. After September 8, 1943, he became part of a clandestine group linked to the Resistance and succeeded in helping numerous Jewish citizens and allied soldiers flee abroad by procuring false documents for them. He was arrested for this activity in 1944 and was transferred to the Trieste prison, from which he did not return. He is a shining example of high Christian values and dedication to the service of civil society. 1942-1944 – Padua “(see Alberto FRISO, Messaggero di Sant’Antonio, February 8, 2018).
The cause for the beatification of Servant of God Friar Placido CORTESE is already in the Roman phase. Having passed the historic Commission, it is now waiting to be discussed in the Theological Commission.
We invite everyone to pray and to ask for the intercession of Servant of God Friar Placido, so that he may be raised to the glory of the altars as soon as possible.
Friar Damian PĂTRAŞCU, Postulator General