Fr. Pietro KASWALDER has returned to the Father’s house.

In the early hours of Wednesday 18 June Fra Pietro Alberto Kaswalder has returned to the Father’s house. Sister death came to take him during his sleep when he was nearing his sixty-second birthday. He was born on 22 June 1952 at Roverè della Luna (Trento, Italy) and since 28 September 1968 he was a member of the Province of the Friars Minor of San Vigilio in Trento. He was ordained priest on 26 June 1977. After two years of pastoral ministry in Gorizia his Superiors sent him to study at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem. In 1981 he obtained his Licentiate and in 1988 his Doctorate in Theology with specialization in Holy Scripture. He was co-opted by the SBF in 1984. After obtaining his Doctorate he began to teach in the same Faculty; he was ordinary professor of Introduction and Exegesis of the Old Testament, as well as an esteemed guide of biblical and archeological excursions. For some years he taught at the Studium Theologicum Jerosolymitanum, and was also a visiting professor in other theological institutions (Zambia, Italy). From the year 2000 he was the organizer and responsible for the course of biblical archeology and geography which the Pontificio Istituto Biblico (Rome) holds every year in the Holy Land.

As a young man he participated in excavation campaigns in Jordan and in Capernahum. Last 14 March the Custos of the Holy Land had appointed him as Director responsible for the restructuring works of the Archeological Park of Capernahum. He published various monographies dealing with biblical, historical and archeological themes, as well as numerous scientific articles and other papers of wide circulation. He was a stable collaborator of the Holy Land reviews edited by the Custody.

Fr. Pietro had a naturally down to earth character which sometimes would make him stand up to get his point home or stick to his way of seeing things. He would sometimes joke about this saying that he was a son of 1968, but at the end he always succeeded in moving on and in being involved in projects and initiatives of collaboration. Recently he committed himself to be a coordinator of various projects that involved organizations and institutions of the Province of Trento and of the Custody of the Holy Land.

In Fr. Kaswalder we lost a disciple of the generation of archeologists and students who have marked the history of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. From preceeding generations he inherited loved for the Holy Land and dedication for the rediscovery and conservation of biblical memories and of the shrines. He led his courses of Excursions with enthusiasm, and arose in his students a vivid interest for the archeological sites and for Holy Scripture. He also leaves a new generation of students in various parts of the world.

«May his memory be a blessing!» (Pr 10,7).

Fr. Kaswalder was 61 years old. He had been professed for 44 years, a priest for 36 years and had offered 34 years of service. According to the norm of our Particular Statutes, every priest is to apply 3 Holy Masses and the other friars are to pray 3 Viae Crucis. In every fraternity a Holy Mass is to be celebrated in common. Let us be solicitous to remember this brother in our prayer, with the gratitude to the Father who has donated him to us, so that our present fraternal union will be full, in the light of the Lord.

Jerusalem, 19 June 2014

fra Sergio GALDI OFM
Secretary of the Holy Land

Read also onthe website of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem
In Memoriam – Padre Pietro Alberto Kaswalder

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