, Gloucester, MA

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January 7, 2009

Fishing tragedy draws tributes from overseas

"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."

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