Fr Rua's funeral He was a saint! Everyone in the Oratory was moved to tears. It was natural. But soon sorrow was replaced by the certainty of having gained another protector in paradise, a true saint, a great saint. The news went from mouth to mouth, inside and beyond the house. The people began to arrive to pay homage to the body, laid out in the church of St. Francis of Sales. His body, dressed in cassock, cotta and stole, was laid out on a small catafalque holding a crucifix in his hands. The first to arrive were naturally those from Turin. 764 Admiration and reverence was evident amongst everyone. 765 They wanted to see and touch him as a sign of reverence. This pious pilgrimage assumed extraordinary proportions the following day, 7 April, after the Press had published news of Fr Rua's death. In Mary Help of Christian's Square there was a coming and going of gigs and 764 I draw from Ceria for Fr Rua's funeral, Vita, 585-588, and the substantial description in the article "La Morte", in Bollettino Salesiano , May 1910, 150-161. 765 “La morte” in Bollettino Salesiano , May 1910, 151. 335
"automobiles", while a sea of people moved towards the Oratory and the church of St. Francis of Sales. "Everyone wanted to press rosaries, medals, bracelets, books, holy pictures, handkerchiefs to his body, and many women gave the clerics and priests their rings, the men their watches and University students their signed certificates". 766 On 8 April came the moment to place him in the casket. Then the casket was transferred to the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians. The people continued filing past. On the morning of 9 April, the church all decked out in mourning, the funeral rites began with Mass in plain chant (Gregorian), celebrated by Salesian Bishop John Marenco, accompanied by Archbishop Pasquale Morganti from Ravenna, a great friend of Fr Rua's, and the Dominican Bishop Angelo Francis Scapardini, bishop of Nusco. Fr Rua had always loved Gregorian chant. The catafalque was modest, without flowers, just six candles, but the ceremony was grandiose and most recollected. The various Associations tied to the Salesians wanted to be there with their respective standards. The Royal family was represented by Princess Leticia Bonaparte. "You have never seen such a crowd and such recollection". When the ceremony finished, not only the Shrine, but also the inner courtyards of the Oratory and the vast church square "presented an aspect of extraordinary festivity". In the afternoon an endless crowd followed or preceded the Fr Rua's casket around the streets of Valdocco. It is calculated that a hundred thousand people stood along the footpaths for the final journey of Fr Rua's through the city where he was born and where he had spent himself without reserve, admired by all. The newspaper Il Momento , in its Saturday 9 April edition, wrote: Around the Casket of the humble priest were all the official representatives of the highest civil authorities, but behind the military cordons trying their best to manage the people in the church, square, streets, was such a huge crowd of people that [Turin] had not seen the equal of for a long time. The most moving significance of the function was
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