The announcement of the passing of Fr. Rocco Marra Imc on the 14th March 2023 brought a great cloud of sadness to many of us missionaries, but also the lay people who have collaborated with us here in the Delegation of South Africa/Eswatini.
Fr. Rocco Marra Imc arrived in this Delegation in the year 1993. It is from then that he went to study the Zulu language until 1994. Hereafter, his first destination was in the Diocese of Dundee, Blaauwbosch where he worked until 1997. After a year’s break, Fr. Rocco Marra Imc was sent to Maria Ratschitz as parish priest where he spent 2 years of missionary work. After that, in the year 2000, he started working at Madadeni ( Regina Coeli, Christ the King ( CTK), St. George, St. Andrew Kwamatukuza and St. Paul Ezuka.
After three years of missionary work in Madadeni, Fr. Rocco was moved to Pretoria in the AMV office in Pretoria. He also became a member of the Delegation Council from 2008 to 2013. He again went back to Madadeni from 2013 to 2016 at Regina Coeli.
Fr. Rocco Marra was later sent to Manzini, in Eswatini from 2016 to 2019. He did pastoral work in Kwaluseni, St. Peter and Paul Parish, he also ministered the refugees. Fr. Rocco Marra worked and lived well with Fr. Francis Onyango and Fr. Peterson Mwangi. He belonged to the Manzini Consolata Community that was also composed of Fr. Giorgio Massa Imc.
This Consolata Missionaries enriched the Manzini Diocese under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Bishop Jose Luis Ponce de Leon Imc. During the missionary service in Manzini, Fr. Rocco became the Vice Delegate Superior, serving with Fr. James Githinji as the Superior and Fr. Daniel Kivuw’a as the Councilor. This was a great team that collaborated very well thanks to the mutual bond of the three. He then moved to Waverly – Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Later on, he became the Delegate Superior of South Africa/Eswatini with Fr. Daniel Kivuw’a as his Vice and Fr. Nathaniel Kagwima as the Councilor. Due to ill health, Fr. Rocco had to go back to Italy to seek more medical attention. The Lord called him on the 14th March 2023 so that he might reward him of all his missionary and priestly work that he so dedicatedly performed.
Fr. Rocco Marra is well known around South Africa, especially in the Diocese of Pretoria and Dundee. He was a very dedicated animator, working with and for the young people. Other than that, his passion was in Lay Christians’ formation, collaboration of the lay and the missionaries and even more deeply, the inter-collaboration of missionaries. On going formation was also his great attribute.
One of his great achievements here in South Africa that he will forever be remembered for is the creation of a Blogspot he named: Sanibonani. This blog was to be an avenue of information inside and outside of South Africa. He managed to make it a major contributor of News from South Africa/Eswatini. Fr. Rocco was a communicator. He had passion for communication. Fr. Rocco knew where to get information and what was worth writing.
Fr. Rocco loved us! He loved all the missionaries in an equal measure. Well, we can’t miss to talk of his at times, unpredictable character, that at times will make you calculate on how to approach him. However, he was a true reconciling brother, and never took things personal. For this we shall really remember him.
We can therefore sum up Fr. Rocco Marra as a true human being, an authentic missionary and a dedicated priest, a true Son of Bl. Joseph Allamano!.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Mt. 25:21
Rest in Peace Fr. Rocco! Phumula ngoxolo Idwala!
By Fr Nathaniel Kagwima