On August 19, government officials, local Seventh-day Adventist leaders, and other special guests witnessed a ceremony in the historic council room of Assoro, Sicily, Italy. Officers of the town (pop. 5,000), including Assoro mayor Antonio Licciardo, gave the local Civil Protection office the name of the late Vincenzo Mazza. Mazza was an Adventist pastor who also served as president of the Adventist Church’s Italian Union of Churches from 1995 to 2000. He passed to his rest earlier in 2023.
During the ceremony, one of Mazza’s sons, Andreas, who is assistant communication director of the Inter-European Division of the Adventist Church, emphasized the tireless commitment that his father showed toward others. “In helping others, especially the weak, Pastor Mazza saw the very essence of Christianity, according to the example set by Jesus Christ,” Andreas Mazza said.
In 1997, through the Adventist Church and with the help of an organization that helped him to obtain special funds, Mazza, who was born in Sicily, donated an ambulance to the Civil Protection office that would later honor him.
Other officials and leaders remembered Mazza’s dedication to his mission and his commitment to volunteering. Among them was Marco Ragusa, president of the Assoro Civil Protection office, Licciardo, and Vincenzo Castro, local Adventist pastor.
Castro, Mazza’s “friend-turned-brother,” emphasized the great love that his late friend harbored for his land and his country. Mazza visited Assoro for the last time in November 2022.
The Adventist pastor also emphasized a renewed commitment of the Adventist Church to the people of Assoro, particularly those who are weak and suffering, and especially through the programs and initiatives of the local Civil Protection office. At the end of his speech, Castro announced a donation of funds to the local office. Those funds were raised by the local Adventist community, he said.
The special August 19 ceremony included music by Mazza’s daughter-in-law, Irida Dragoti. Dragoti, an opera singer at the Opera Theatre in Rome, performed two pieces that were precious to her late father-in-law, the family shared during the ceremony. Mazza himself had suggested that she include those two songs — “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Holy City” — in her repertoire.
During the closing remarks and on behalf of the community, local officials shared words of appreciation for the Adventist Church. The regional press echoed those remarks and featured the ceremony in the La Sicilia newspaper.
“Pastor Mazza left a legacy of love and dedication to the service of others,” the newspaper commented. It is an example “that will continue to inspire future generations,” it read.