"Scusate non so parlare e scrivere bene l Amerikano."
"I apologize for not speaking or writing English," is the translation of that opening to an e-mail message to the Times from Massimo, Vita, Chiara and Isabel, European kin of Gloucester's Matteo Russo.
They were responding, reaching across the ocean to express their grief alongside that of their American relatives and friends, to the news of Russo's death during a fishing trip last weekend with his father-in-law, John Orlando, who also perished.
In the small flat world we live in, the worst news travels fastest.
As the community mourns and prepares to gather today from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Ann Church for visiting hours — and after 7:30 for a remembrance vigil, with the funeral Mass set for 11 a.m. tomorrow — Nina Groppo and Angela Sanfilippo of the Fishermen's Partnership translated the Italian messages for the Times.
The body of the message that began with the apology is as follows.
"Sono la figlia di Massimo e Vita Ania (Cusumano). Quando o sentito quello che e sucesso per me e la mia famiglia e stato uno shock e una cosa molto triste perche volevamo bene a matteo. Con afetto alla moglie Josephine alla madre die Josephine e all figlio di matteo, salvatore putroppo non possiamo stare li ma con il cuore siamo a Gloucester da Vita, Massimo, Chiara e Isabel."
Its full translation:
"I am the daughter of Massimo and Vita Ania (Cusumano). ¬ When we heard of what had happened, our family was in shock. ¬ We are very sad because we loved Matteo. ¬ We send our love to Josephine and her mother and to Matteo and Josephine's son Salvatore. ¬ Unfortunately we cannot be there to comfort you but we are close to you with our hearts.¬ Massimo, Vita, Chiara and Isabel."
Among the other messages posted on stories about the tragedy at gloucestertimes.com were the following:
From: Carissima Crocetta "Non conosco ancora bene i particolari, ma ieri ho sentito della nuova tragedia che si Ã® abbattuta sulla comuniÃ di Gloucester...."
"Non so se si tratti di persone che ho conosciuto, ma sento comunque il bisogno di esprimere il mio cordoglio e quello dell'emittente che rappresento, all'intera comunitÃ che lo scorso anno ci ha accolti con affetto e calore.
A presto, Loredana Badalamenti"
"I don't know all of the details, but yesterday I heard about the tragedy that once more has stricken the Gloucester community. I am not sure if I got to meet them, however I feel the need to express my condolences on behalf of myself and of the broadcast system I represent to the entire community that last year welcomed us with love and warmth. See you soon, Loredana Badalamenti, Teleoccidente TV"
From Giovanni Zito,
"Col cuore pieno di dolore un addio al nostro caro cugino Matteo, che resterÃ per sempre nei nostri cuori." "With a heart full of pain we say farewell to our dear cousin Matteo who will remain forever in our hearts."
Zito also wrote in English:
"We are the first cousins of Matteo Russo, but we live in Germany and to receive this notice has shocked us. In this moment of pain, we would be next to our uncles and cousins. A thought goes to the family Russo and Orlando."
From Atonella Zito:
"Sono antonella zito cugina di Matteo che abita in Germania ieri quando abbiamo sentito la brutta notizia siamo rimasti senza parole ci uniamo al dolore per la perdita del nostro caro cugino matteo russo e di suo suocero Giovanni Orlando un abbraccio alla moglÃe Josephine e famiglia.
dalla famiglia salvatore antonella alessia e serena Orlando"
"I am Antonella Zito, Matteo's cousin from Germany. ¬ Yesterday when we first heard of the bad news we were just speechless. With heartfelt sympathy we unite with our dear cousin Matteo and his father-in law's family for their loss.¬ A big hug to Matteo's wife Josephine and family.
Salvatore, Antonella, Alessia and Serena"
Affection transcends language and moves as quickly as the worst of the bad news.
Richard Gaines can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org¬
What: Services today and tomorrow for Matteo Russo and John Orlando, the Gloucester fishermen lost aboard the Patriot early Saturday morning.
Where: All at St. Ann Church.
General Calling Hours: Today, 4 to 7:30 p.m.
Remembrance Vigil: Tonight, 7:30.
Funeral: Tomorrow, 11 a.m., at St. Ann Church, with procession to follow along Stacy Boulevard, past Fishermen's Memorial and Jodrey Fish Pier to Calvary Cemetery.