Priest off to a retreat to pray – was one of the survivors of the Costa Concordia wreck

An Italian priest has a lot of explaining to do after telling his parishioners he was going on a spiritual retreat, only for it to be revealed that he was on the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship.

Father Massimo Donghi told his parishioners that he was heading off for a week of contemplation and prayer, but instead boarded the luxury liner at Civitavecchia, north of Rome, for a luxury cruise of Mediterranean ports.

He was found out when his nephew, who was also on the cruise, posted assurances on Facebook that the priest had survived the disaster.

The nephew told worried friends and relatives that he, his uncle and the priest’s elderly mother had managed to get into lifeboats when the 1,000ft liner ran aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio. They were among the 4,200 passengers and crew who were forced to evacuate the ship after it smashed into a rocky shoal on the night of Jan 13…

Father Donghi…will now have to explain himself to his parishioners in Besana Brianza, near Monza in northern Italy.

Church-goers had imagined he had signed up for a week of simple living and religious devotion, rather than a cruise on board a ship which boasts spas, saunas, jacuzzis, four swimming pools, five restaurants, 13 bars, a casino and a discotheque.

“What do you want me to say?” the priest told an Italian news magazine, Panorama. “I have nothing to add. I’m OK although I’m still a bit in shock. I will talk to my parishioners in church. The judgment of others is not important to me.”

Thoughtful dude. And a few more days to come up with a story will probably help.

I wonder if he was strolling the ship in his civvies or in uniform?

Sebastian Vettel is youngest winner in Formula One history

Sebastian Vettel became the youngest Formula One winner with an impeccable start to finish victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The German, aged 21 years and 74 days, and driving in only his 22nd grand prix for Toro Rosso, made the most of his first pole with a maiden race win, in testing conditions.

The previous youngest winner was Fernando Alonso, who was almost a year older when he won the Hungarian GP in 2003.

McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen was 12.5 second adrift in second place with BMW-Sauber’s Robert Kubica third.

“For sure the best day of my life,” Vettel said. “These pictures, these emotions — I will never forget.”

Great race. Exciting to watch. Vettel’s driving skills in the rain are impressive.