In loving memory of Gaetano Pivatelli

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Don Gaetano was born in Rosegaferro, a fraction of Villafranca di Verona, 27 January 1832. His father, Louis, have had recently purchased a tavern in the country with his wife Marianna Pedrotti. Gaetano, still a child, studied at the Don Mazza Institute in Verona, preluding his clerical career, he proved a great intellect, “reported in all years and in all school subjects maximum vote, Prime eminent.”

In 1872, at the age of forty years became pastor of the small Custoza, where he had to deal with the footprints of that territory by a series of bloody battles: a tragic situation of poverty and disease, accompanied by food shortages. What struck him most was the death in the depths of those soldiers who died for their country, they had not received proper recognition, and were buried in several mass graves adjacent municipalities at the mercy of the weather and anonymity.

“In this situation, the parish priest of Custoza Don Gaetano Pivatelli, spurred on by a brotherly feeling of pity, felt like a mission the duty to collect in a more decorous and appropriate place those wretched remains. So the state of the pits was rapidly deteriorating. Instituted periodic functions of funeral suffrage, began to talk to everyone, and when he heard about another discovery, in a forest, the bones of a poor soldier, he took a pen and paper and began to write at all! Even wrote to King Vittorio Emanuele II and Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria to contribute to the erection of a mausoleum worthy to collect the mortal remains of the fallen of all battles”.

His word found wide acceptance in the society and institutions. Pivatelli died in Custoza in 1900, was buried in the town cemetery until 1990 when it finally reaches the young fallen (which he had labored so much to make them remember) in the crypt of the shrine.