Brother Aldino Amato, OP: A Visionary with a Mission

Brother Amato Aldino, OP was born on 22 February 1931 in Molfetta, Bari, Italy. He was ordained on 29 June 1957. At his ordination, he had made a promise to God to become a missionary.

He was very much impressed by the Italian missionaries to Pakistan. Right after his ordination, he wanted to serve as a missionary, but he was sent to assist at the Apostolic School in Arezzo, Italy. After five years, on 8 February 1962, he was sent as a missionary to Pakistan. He made it his priority to learn the local languages so that he would understand and help the people. “Actions speak louder than words” was one of his principles. He never distinguished between Christians and Muslims; all were equal to him. He was an ambassador of peace and a beacon of light for the Muslims and Christians.

From the very beginning, he was regular with his spiritual life, pastoral ministry, caring for the poor, suffering, sick, hungry, homeless, and, in particular, the blind. He was faithful in carrying on with his social apostolate of overall development of the people as best as possible in the given situation. More than a devoted priest and a sincere, disciplined, and committed leader, he was a responsible and hardworking administrator as well as a kind-hearted man. In his early years, he used to attend the annual retreats, assemblies and chapter meetings of his communities. He transformed his difficult and different vision into his mission.

Br. Amato rendered his missionary services in Pakistan for 59 years and played a vital role in the diocese of Faisalabad. He provided pastoral, educational, technical and health assistance in many parishes. He assisted at Khuspur Parish from 1962-1967 then served as a Parish Priest in the same parish from 1967-1972; he sent 19 students to Italy to complete their studies in medicine. He was a Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Parish Sahiwal from 1972-1980, served at Holy Rosary Parish Warispura, Faisalabad from 1980-1982, Chichawatini Parish in 1983 for six months, then Okara City Parish from 1983-1988 and at Rehmpur, Our Lady of Mercy Parish from 1988-2021.

Wherever he was assigned, he would assist in building chapels in the villages and, if needed, churches, or assist in renovating the existing ones. He assisted in building three churches and more than 15 chapels in remote villages. He spent quality time in faith formation, he himself would teach catechism to children, youth and adults so that they would have a strong foundation in the Catholic faith. Thus, his priority was faith formation. To continue this mission of faith formation he was instrumental in recruiting many young men to the Dominican Order and also men and women to other congregations. 

In 1972, he was transferred to Sahiwal Parish. Seeing the poor condition of the Catholics, he was instrumental in building 60 houses in one place which is now called Amato Colony. He had also helped families build houses in many other places. The families whose houses he had helped build are ever grateful to him.

His biggest contribution was towards his ministry among the blind. In one of his visits to Italy, he met Mr. Luigi Vieri, a blind professor who encouraged him to start schools for the blind in Pakistan, assuring him of assistance, guidance and financial support. With this, Aldino started the extraordinary mission for blind students. He was instrumental in having boarding houses with educational facilities for the blind, some of which were attached to parishes while others independent of parishes. With his help and guidance, many of them were able to complete their higher studies. To care for the blind had truly been his unique and lifetime achievement.

In Okara, he dedicated more time in the field of education and formation of children and the youth. He was instrumental in founding three schools, technical institutes, tailoring institutes and a college for women. To sustain the continued education of the students he also labored to have boarding schools and hostels for boys and girls. These residential schools eventually helped the students complete their higher studies.

At Rehmpur Parish, Chak 6/4.L, he took a keen interest in farming and cultivation. He bought tractors and trolleys and helped provide a tube well for the purpose of farming. God had blessed him abundantly to use the produce for the benefit of the boarding children and also of needy families. A big share of the produce was also shared with the diocese for their projects.

Initially, in different places, he used to help the sick and the needy. But in the year 2002, with the unexpected grant from well-wishers from Rome and collaboration from his priest friend from Molfetta he was able to build in Okara a hospital, which the benefactors suggested to be called “Rosary Christian Hospital”. In order to meet the expenses of the hospital, the schools, hostels and a college for women, he founded Maria & Michele Modugno Foundation by depositing a huge amount of money as an endowment fund. The trust of this huge amount helps even other institutions to cover the ordinary expenses.

Within the hospital premises at Rehmpur, Okara, he had a new parish house and a beautiful chapel. To help as many people as possible, he secured the purchase of ambulances and also made it possible to have a branch of MCB Bank at the hospital premises. Now consisting of a TB Ward, Eye Department, OPD and Gynecology division, the hospital is being administered with the help of the Franciscan Tertiary Sisters of Lahore. On 1 May 2021, Br. Aldino departed to the heavenly father and is buried in the Hospital Chapel at Chak 6/4-L Rehmpur, Okara.  May his soul rest in Peace.

Brother James Samuel, O.P.

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 Piazza Pietro d'Illiria, 1 | 00153 Roma | Italy


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