Camillians elect new superior to lead after arrest of previous head
Catholic News Service photo
Camillian Father Leocir Pessini was elected June 18 as the superior general of the Camillian Fathers and Brothers. The election of the 59-year-old Brazilian took place seven months after the previous superior was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping. Father Pessini is pictured in an undated photo provided by his order.
Catholic News Service
ROME — Saying they wanted to "look forward with renewed commitment," the Camillian Fathers and Brothers elected a 59-year-old Brazilian as superior general seven months after the previous superior was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping.
Camillian Father Leocir Pessini, president of the order's 56 hospitals in Brazil, was elected by members of the order's extraordinary chapter June 18 in Rome.
"The election took place on the first ballot and by a very large majority -- a sign of the unity of the chapter members," according to a press release from the order.
In November, Italian police arrested Father Renato Salvatore, the previous superior general, and charged him with kidnapping for allegedly attempting to prevent two Camillian Fathers opposed to his election from attending the order's general chapter in May 2013.
According to Italian news reports, Father Salvatore was accused of arranging for impersonators posing as members of the Italian finance police to detain and question the two Camillian priests in order to prevent them from participating in the general chapter and voting against his re-election.
The real finance police have alleged that Father Salvatore was working with an Italian financier -- who has been investigated repeatedly but never convicted of shady financial dealings -- to protect contracts at a Camillian hospital near Naples.
Father Salvatore's trial is scheduled to begin July 2.
The new superior and members of his council have the task of "helping the religious in 40 countries around the world and the great family of St. Camillus to rediscover the enthusiasm and joy of serving the sick and the poor, as they have done for the past four centuries," the press statement said.