Fr. giovanni(jhon) fontana – clerics regular of somasca (somascan fathers) province st. jerome emiliani india

“Fr. John Fontana, endowed with a kind and sensitive heart, has a strong and firm character,
distinctly hard-working. During these years of stay in India he gave all of himself for our
institution. The results achieved in such a short time witness to his heroic sacrifice, his intelligent
constant work and his exemplary testimony of Somascan religious. As a delegate, he will
consolidate our presence in India in the best of ways.”

(Note of the Superiors, June 18, 1992)

Fr. Giovanni (John, as he was popularly known out of Italy) Fontana was the Somascan religious
whose efforts had laid the foundation of the Somascan presence in India and made it possible to
stretch over Sri Lanka and Australia.

He came to India in 1988, when he was almost 50 years old, a detail that highlights his courage and
tirelessness to work for the Lord. He travelled extensively all over South India for the purpose of
offering the service of the Somascan charism and preparing its insertion into the Indian context. He
always travelled with the same transportations means that the poor would have used, as he was a
man of hard work and passionate poverty.

Once, on a visit to Italy, he was asked about the new foundation in India. He replied: “I arrived in
India with two suitases. Now there are two communities.”

India was recently erected a separate province of the Somascan Order, and the number of its
communities, religious and children is ever increasing. Thanks to the vision and the perseverance of
Fr. John, who was able to believe in his mission even in the face of harsh difficulties.
Here below are a few details about him.

Whoever would be so kind to share with us his memory and incidents about Fr. John would be
highly appreciated.

Curriculum Vitae
Birth 01.11.1939 Sale Langhe (Cuneo)
Postulancy 1955 Cherasco
Novitiate 1955-1956 Somasca
Temporary profession 11.10.1956 Somasca
Solemn profession 02.10.1962 Roma
Priesthood 05.03.1966 Roma
Death 09.06.2008 Perth (Australia)
Assignments and Tasks
Genoa – Nervi 1966 – 1972 Minister at the Emiliani College
Turin 1972 – 1975 Rector – Home for children
Genoa – Nervi 1975 – 1982 Minister and teacher at the Emiliani College
Cherasco 1982 – 1987 Formator of seminarians
Turin 1987 – 1988 Home for children
India 1988 – 1991 Bangalore, formator
Bangalore 1991 – 1992 Delegate of the Residence “Yuva Vikas”
Bangalore 1992 Superiore of “Yuva Vikas”
Bangalore 1994 – 1998 Shanthigiri
Bangalore 1998 – 2001 Superiore of “Suryodaya”
Bangalore 1999 2nd Councillor Commissariat of India
Chennai 2001 – 2005 Jerome Illam
Australia 2005 St. Jerome Parish, Munster, Perth

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