Jesuit's plea to stop gangland bloodshed

Melbourne's underworld was urged not to avenge the murder of underworld identity Mario Condello in Fr Peter Norden's plea from the pulpit at his funeral.

The Herald-Sun reports that Fr Norden told mourners evil must be rejected for it to be conquered for good.

"You must not exact vengeance or bear a grudge. Never repay evil with evil. Never try and seek revenge," he said.

Condello was shot dead in the garage of his Brighton home on Monday night, becoming the 28th victim of Melbourne's gangland killings.

Close friend Mick Gatto told the 600 mourners at St Ignatius Catholic Church in Richmond of a serious, conservative man with whom he shared many great times.

Mr Gatto recalled how Condello - once a major player at Crown casino - liked to gamble, but started off small with $5 bets.

Fr Norden said: "When I first met Mario more than twenty years ago I began to learn that real people have many different dimensions to their lives and the public face is often not the only face, or even the real face."

Condello's daughter, Vanessa, echoed this sentiment, asserting that her father was not the man portrayed in the media. She said her father had been touched by God in the past 18 months and had found peace within himself. One of the commentators noted that three Catholic priests had visited the house within 24 hours of his death.

"He prayed for us, and he asked God to forgive him for anything he'd done wrong," she said. "Dad, I know you've gone straight to heaven to be with God.

"Dad, we challenged each other. You always told me you loved me. Dad, you could be charming, arrogant, caring and kind, stubborn, sometimes downright rude and scary."

Fr Norden, a friend of the Condellos, spoke of forgiveness and understanding as he held the rosary beads the victim was carrying when he was murdered.

"More than two years ago, at another funeral of a close friend of Mario's, I said how important it was for people to learn to live with their differences," he said.

"We cannot impose our will on other people. You must find ways of living peacefully with one another."

Among pallbearers for Condello were his playwright brother Enzo, sons Guerino and Rosario, and Mr Gatto.

Also at the service was associate Steve Kaya and boxing identity Dave Hedgecock.

Priest's plea to stop bloodshed (Herald-Sun 11/2/06)
Condello Funeral - Readings, homily (10/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Ignatius' Church

Priest comments after Melbourne gangland murder (CathNews 7/2/06)

Condello's daughter blasts media coverage (ABC Radio PM 10/2/06)
Shades of a mafia funeral (Herald-Sun 11/2/06)
Slain gangster had found God (The Advertiser 11/2/06)
Finding faith after a life of crime (The Australian 11/2/06)
Mourners remember Condello at rosary service (ABC Victoria 9/2/06)
Eulogy for a gangster (Herald-Sun 10/2/06)
Condello farewelled today (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 9/2/06)
Underworld accused shot dead at home (Herald-Sun 7/2/06)
Condello shooting saddens priest (Herald-Sun/Australian Associated Press 6/2/06)

13 Feb 2006