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Thanksgiving for Warner’s Italian angel

21 October 2010

AN ITALIAN prison officer whose prompt action “almost certainly helped save the life” of the Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Revd Martin Warner — who writes the Church Times Sunday’s readings column — re­ceived a gift sent by the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Dr Geoffrey Rowell, at a service of thanksgiving in Florence earlier this month.

The prison officer, Antonangelo Corsi, went to Bishop Warner’s assistance when he suffered a cardiac arrest on 23 August while sightseeing in Florence. Mr Corsi used resus­citation and life-saving techniques on the Bishop while waiting for para­medics to arrive (News, 27 August).

Mr Corsi and his family were invited to St Mark’s English Church, Florence — where Bishop Warner had been acting as a locum priest while its chaplain, the Revd Lawrence MacLean, was on holiday — to receive a cross sent by Bishop Rowell “as a thanksgiving for . . . [his] heroic action”, the diocese in Europe said in a statement.

Bishop Warner, who continues his recovery in England, sent a message of thanks to Mr Corsi and the congregation of St Mark’s.

Addressing the congregation, Mr Corsi said: “I think that in every important moment in our lives there exists a reason for everything, and that the presence of God is always there to be seen and interpreted. On this occasion, the meeting between Bishop Martin and I was meant to be, and subsequently has become a friendship, which I hope will grow and be long-lasting.”

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