Priest devoted to helping AIDS patients dies in Chile

Father Ubaldo Santi Lucherini, one of the founders of Caritas Chile who devoted years of his life to caring for AIDS and cancer patients, died on Jan. 4 at the age of 92.

The announcement of his death was made by the Chilean delegation of the Order of the Mother of God, which he helped to found more than 50 years ago.

Bishop Manuel Camilo Vial of Temuco, Chile, president of Caritas Social Ministries in the country, called Father Santi "a great man, one of the great ones of our Church."

"Father Santi had a big heart full of ideas," the bishop said. "He knew how to sense where there was suffering."

"Through Caritas he learned of the great need AIDS patients and their families were experiencing, and thanks to his contacts he started the Family Clinic," he explained.

The bishop praised Fr. Santi as a great "visionary" who was able to marshal enormous resources to help in the areas of housing, youth ministry and education. 

"He was present during so many emergencies, lending help through Caritas," the bishop said. "We could list so many things.  It is a great loss."

Born on May 19, 1921 in Braga, Italy, Fr. Santi was ordained a priest at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome in 1946. He then traveled to Chile with a group of other priests to found the first community of the Order of the Mother of God.

For more than 40 years, he served in Caritas Chile, becoming the driving force behind the Family Clinic for AIDS and cancer patients.

Fr. Santi will be remembered as "a great disciple of the Lord, a great servant of the people in the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," said Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, adding that the late priest "translated the Gospel of charity and of solidarity in a very particular way."

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