His spiritual testament
In his spiritual testament he wrote, among other things:
“I give thanks to the Lord for my ministry of service in the episcopate. How good the Lord has been to me! I have wanted to be a father, brother and friend to priests, to men and women religious, to all God’s people. I wanted to be simply the presence of ‘Christ, the hope of glory”.
The last sentences of his testament are:
“I want to depart to the Father with a serene, grateful and happy heart. Fiat and Magnificat. I go to the Father. I bless everyone with my affection as a father, brother and friend”.
Hope and joy were his characteristic traits, linked to his Marian spirituality, typical of the Magnificat. He was a good shepherd in complex circumstances: paternal, mild, welcoming, firm but understanding. In his work he gave importance to personal relationships. For him, human relationships were pre-eminent: building friendships and making others grow through encounters. This pedagogy, for his detractors, was a form of weakness, in reality it was his strength. As a man of peace, he suffered when faced with conflict. He was able to make clear decisions, which he pursued with commitment. He nurtured a special love for poverty and lived in detachment from material goods and wealth, always maintaining the exercise of the virtue of humility. His mediation skills, the fruit of reliance on Providence and a life of imitatio Christi, proved invaluable during the work of the Medellin Conference. He accepted humiliations and his final illness with fortitude (cf. Dicastery for the Causes of Saints).