Catholic Priest Stabbed to Death in Italy Known for His Care of ‘The Least’

A diocesan statement said “in the face of this tragedy, the Church of Como is clinging to prayer for its priest Fr. Roberto and for the person who struck him to death.”

Father Roberto Malgesini
Father Roberto Malgesini (photo: Il Settimanale della Diocesi di Como)

ROME — A 51-year-old priest was found dead from knife wounds Tuesday near his parish in the city of Como, Italy.

Fr. Roberto Malgesini was known for his devotion to the homeless and migrants in the northern Italian diocese.

The pastor died in a street near his parish of the Church of St. Rocco after sustaining several stab wounds, including one to the neck, around 7 a.m. Sept. 15.

A 53-year-old man from Tunisia admitted to the stabbing and turned himself in to police shortly afterward. The man was understood to suffer from some mental ailments and was known by Fr. Malgesini, who had let him sleep in a room for the homeless run by the parish.

Fr. Malgesini was the coordinator of a group to help people in difficult situations. The morning he was killed, he was expected at a breakfast for the homeless. In 2019, he was fined by local police for feeding people living under the portico of a former church.  

Bishop Oscar Cantoni will lead a rosary for Fr. Malgesini in Como Cathedral Sept. 15 at 8:30 p.m. He said “we are proud as a bishop and as a Church of a priest who gave his life for Jesus in the ‘least ones.’”

A diocesan statement said “in the face of this tragedy, the Church of Como is clinging to prayer for its priest Fr. Roberto and for the person who struck him to death.” 

The local newspaper Prima la Valtellina quoted Luigi Nessi, a volunteer who worked with Fr. Malgesini, as saying that “he was a person who lived the Gospel daily, in every moment of the day. An exceptional expression of our community.”

Fr. Andrea Messaggi told La Stampa: “Roberto was a simple person. He just wanted to be a priest and years ago he made this wish explicit to the former bishop of Como. For this he was sent to St. Rocco, where every morning he brought hot breakfasts to the least. Here everyone knew him, they all loved him.” 

The priest’s death has caused sorrow in the migrant community, La Stampa reported.

Roberto Bernasconi, director of the diocesan branch of Caritas, described Fr. Malgesini as “a meek person.”

“He devoted his whole life to the least, he was aware of the risks he ran,” Bernasconi said. “The city and the world did not understand his mission.”

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacré-Cœur) in Paris

Catholics in France, and Pro-Life News (Jan. 22)

The Church in France has long been called the “eldest daughter of the Church,” but today there are challenges and crises for French Catholics in all directions. But there are also signs of hope and promise. This week on Register Radio we talk to Register Senior Editor Jonathan Liedl about his recent trip to France. And then, as the nation marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the pro-life movement marches in Washington, DC, and around the country, we are joined by Lauretta Brown with an update on pro-life news and a look ahead to the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson.