Dear Members of the CMA of the USA and of the whole FIAMC,

I heard with great sadness that our common friend, Dr. Gino Papola, returned to our Father’s home, in the eve of Christmas, 2011, when we celebrate the mistery of God who takes human flesh to make us similar to Him. I met Gino for the first time in Rome, in the year 1981, during the preparation of the the XV World Congress of FIAMC, that would have been celebrated in 1982. Gino was at that time the President of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. The Congress remained as a remarkable one, because Pope John Paul II visited the participants in the Congress Hall and later on, following their request, he issued the Apostolic Letter “Salvifici Doloris” on the theological value of suffering, and erected the new vatican dicaster of Health Pastoral Care.

Despite the age difference, with Gino it was easy to establish an immediate relationship. To me he recalled that kind of italian immigrants who landed in the States bringing with them only their strong faith, their hard working, their honesty and their determination to offer better opportunities to their children. My grand father, moved to Philadelphia in 1912, when he was 15. Gino moved to Philadelphia from Aquila when he was a kid. With hard study he succeeded to honor his country of origin and his country of adoption. He had four children and, after the death of their mother, he found in Mary a wonderful person who accepted to be for them a second mother. In the following years, we met several times in Rome and I had the pleasure to invite him for dinner at my home. I still remember some of the jokes that he was always ready to tell and that where important part of his sympathy, as it was his ability to switch easily from a very intellectual English to the dialect of the Abruzzi, the Italian region in which is Aquila. Years later (I think it was in 2001) I had the privilege to be with my wife for dinner at his doughter’s house. It was a wonderful evening with a wonderful family. We met again in Rome and I had the possibility to introduce his son Mark to Pope Benedict XVI, in a difficult moment of his life. During the 8 years of my precidency of FIAMC he always supported my efforts to increase the social presence of the Catholic Doctors and to strenghten their fidelity to the Teachings of the Church.

Gino passed away a few weeks after his beloved Mary. He will remain as an example of committment to the most genuine values of the medical profession and of disinterested service to the Church. His children and grand-children can be proud of him. For FIAMC he has been a great President, for me a faithful friend. I pray the Lord to give him the reward promitted to the just.

Requiescat in pace!

Gian Luigi Gigli

Past-President of FIAMC