A tough day; but a very fitting tribute to a special man. St. Peter’s cathedral was packed both inside and outside with 3 Bishops and about 60 priests concelebrating the funeral Mass, which lasted over 3 hours. Just like funerals at home I met people I hadn’t seen for a long time and they were very surprised that I was here in Malawi. The Mass was in Tumbuka but I managed to follow most of it and of course the singing was extraordinary. I was really touched when the Bishop came over to greet us as he was processing out of the church and he told me that Francis had held on for me coming. The loveliest part of the Mass was at the end when all of the priests and Bishops formed a guard of honour and passed the coffin along the line to carry him out of the church. I don’t know how I held it together but I’m so used to keeping my emotions in check here.
We then proceeded to the burial ground for Religious where Francis was laid to rest. There were hundreds of people there. Nobody leaves until the coffin is completely buried in the ground and they sing the whole time. Francis was only 49 but he has suffered so much but at least now his suffering is over.
Rest in peace Francis.