“Words are fleeting, books remain“ was his motto in life. With an endearing smile that came most naturally to him, the Xaverian priest was a missionary in Bangladesh for almost 40 years. He dedicated himself to producing Bengali-language Christian literature in Bangladesh since 1989. Till his death he published at least 200 books and booklets for priests, children, students, and general readers.
Born in the city of Valdagno, Italy in the year 1938, he received his secondary education from the missionary institute in Vicenza and a degree in classical studies (Italian, Latin and Greek) from Desio of Milan. Then he studied English in the city of London, UK. In 1970 he set out for what was then East Pakistan. After witnessing the devastation wrought by the cyclone on November 12, and the atrocities and the genocide campaign launched by Pakistan army, he interacted with common people and became fond of Bangladesh and its people. He shared his experience during the nine-month-long war in a few books that he wrote in Italian and published in Italy. He found a second home in the soil of this country.
In 1974, Father Garello returned to Italy for further studies at the Gregoriana University in Rome. He finished his studies with a thesis on teacher-disciple relationship in inter-religious context. On his return to Bangladesh in 1980, he served as the rector of the St Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in Khulna town and, at the same time, did pastoral work in the local parish church.
After witnessing the devastation wrought by the cyclone on November 12, and the atrocities and the genocide campaign launched by Pakistan army, he interacted with common people and became fond of Bangladesh and its people
From 1989 to 1996, he was at the Xaverian House in Dhaka editing the Mongolbarta (Good News), a bimonthly in Bengali, and publishing Catholic books in Bengali. In 1996, Father Garello was away to Jerusalem for a year on a Bible Study sojourn. From 2002 onwards he based himself in Dhaka and dedicated himself solely to translating into Bengali Catholic religious and spiritual books and booklets on behalf of the National Social and Catechetical Social Training Centre of Jessore. He also helped significantly in coordinating and bringing out the Second Vatican Council Documents, Catechism of the Catholic Church and some papal encyclicals in Bengali.
Some of his most important books include Bangladesher Teen Bondhu
(Three friends of Bangladesh), Christo Mondolir Itihashey Nari
(Women in the Church History), Asiar Sadhu Sadhi
( Saints of Asia ), Mondolir Itihash Porichiti
(Introduction to the Church History). His books were warmly welcomed by people of all religions.
In recent times, when communalism is threatening the most fundamental secular face of this country, his death came as a blow to people seeking out a common cultural ground for different faiths. What gives us hope is the fact that he will live on in his works which remind us that every faith -- whether Islam, Hinduism or Christianity -- should reach out to the people in their own language and that promoting Bengali can be the best way to carve the common ground which binds us together as a nation.
(In preparing this article, information culled from the websites of Bangladesh Canada and Beyond, and Asianews.it has been made use of)