Blessie in pope's prayers
Slain Auckland mother Blesilda "Blessie" Gotingco was "simply the best mother" anybody could have, her son told her funeral requiem mass today.
About 300 people attended the service at St Mary's Catholic Church in Northcote.
The family have received a message of support from the Vatican.
The body of the 56-year-old mother of three was found dumped at a North Shore cemetery after she disappeared on her way home from work on May 24.
A 27-year-old man has been charged with her murder.
At the mass, John Gotingco said that as a child he wondered how he would cope with the loss of a family member.
He always imagined it would strengthen his character.
"But nothing can ever prepare you for the cruel blow," he said.
"I find myself wishing it was all a bad dream ... the wounds are very raw."
He said his father, Antonio, had demonstrated the meaning of true strength at the loss of Blessie.
"He has carried himself with zeal, poise and dignity ... Cometh the hour, cometh the man," he said.
He had never imagined that the death of his mother, "a quiet, private person", would have caused suffering for so many.
When the family went to her workplace at Tower in central Auckland to pick up her belongings, they found a small shrine of photos and messages had been created.
Last Saturday, there had been a community candlelight vigil to mark her life.
John Gotingco said he felt a stream of love and compassion he had never experienced.
"My mother had won so much love from so many people; she was worth her weight in gold, and then some."
He said the family had more rough seas to sail "before justice is served".
He thanked police for doing their job "and being with us every step of the way".
He singled out a detective who had "stood vigil with my mum" after her body was found.
Father Craig Dunford, who conducted the mass, said "what happened to Blessie is not OK".
There had been, over 10 days, several acts of kindness and love towards the family.
"I have never seen or experienced anything like it in my lifetime," he said. "This doesn't make sense."
He said there had been "incredible goodness" in the community, and a single act would not change that.
"The light will always conquer the darkness," he said. "She is now at peace with God."
A North Shore masonic grandmaster, Barry Rushton, told the congregation of the great pain the family had endured, especially by Antonio, in "this senseless and tragic loss of his wife".
All the mourners wore a green ribbon, Blessie's favourite colour.
Earlier, Dunford said he had sent a message to the Vatican this week asking that Pope Francis remember her in prayer.
He said the family had received a call last night from the Vatican to be told by a papal official that the Pope had Blessie in his thoughts and in his prayers.
Blessie was originally from the Philippines, a strongly Catholic nation.