Priest tells Blessie’s family, ‘We are here’

Blessie’s family bid farewell to her outside St Mary’s Church in Northcote, Auckland.

AUCKLAND — There are no magic words to ease the pain of the family of killed Auckland woman, Blesilda “Blessie” Gotingco, but friends and community can continue to support them by just being there.
At the requiem Mass offered for Mrs Gotingco on June 6, St Mary’s Northcote parish priest Fr Craig Dunford assured the Gotingco family that they will not be alone as they face the gruelling days ahead of continued police investigations, the court case and adjusting to life without her.

Blessie’s family bid farewell to her outside St Mary’s Church in Northcote, Auckland.

“There’s nothing you and I can say to the family that is going to make this okay, because their mum’s death, your wife’s death, is not okay,” Fr Dunford told the more than
500 people who attended the Mass. “I often think about being present, because there are
no magic words. What you and I can do, and what we have been doing over the past number
of days, is being present, standing side by side with this family. I’d like to think it’s the
ministry of presence.”
Fr Dunford earlier said the family had received a phone call from the Vatican assuring
them that Pope Francis was praying for them on that day (June 5). “There is a touch of
the Universal Church here.”
Fr Dunford told the family that although Mrs Gotingco may not be physically present,
she still exists.
“While Blessie’s life here and now has been snatched from her, eternal life will
never be snatched from her. There will never be a time when your wife, your mother,
your lola (grandmother) to your grandson, there will never be a time that she doesn’t
exist. Each of us are made for eternal life. It is our certain faith. It is her faith, her belief that while the body is now in our presence in the form of ashes, her spirit, the part
that made her her, now resting with God, still exists,” he said.
Fr Dunford said that despite the one senseless act, there is much goodness around. “I can’t tell you why this has happened but what I can tell you is that God does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in goodness. And over the last 10 or so days, Blessie’s family has been showered with goodness,” he said. “And as I reflect and think of the response of the community, I’ve never seen or experienced anything like it in my lifetime.”
The family, through her eldest son, John, thanked the community for its overwhelming
support to the family. “I was deeply touched by the walk on Saturday night. There were 4000 people as far as the eyes could see,” he said.
North Shore Masonic District Grand Master Barry Rushton said the tragedy is “the monumental time when faith belief is tested has never been greater than now for this family”.
“We pray for Blessie. We pray for the redemption of the perpetrator. We pray for the
healing and the compassion within the family’s hearts,” he said at the eulogy.

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