.- The husband of St. Gianna Beretta Molla passed away at the age of 97 last weekend on Holy Saturday, a day that carries special significance for the Molla family. “Pietro Molla was a pillar and rock – a man of extraordinary faith, simplicity and holiness,” wrote Fr. Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt and Light TV, on his blog. “He lived a remarkable, saintly life and like his beloved wife, Gianna, made holiness something attainable for all of us.”
Pietro spent much of his life as a widower after his wife died in 1962, having chosen to give birth to her daughter instead of having an abortion, despite the dangers it presented to her own life. Gianna, a physician herself, died a week after their baby was born. Her husband was left with four children to raise and never remarried. Nevertheless, “I am convinced,” wrote Fr. Rosica, “that the story of holiness did not end with St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
“I am certain that the cause for Pietro Molla’s beatification and canonization will be opened soon,” he continued. “What a powerful witness this would be to the dignity and sacredness of marriage and family life!”
Fr. Rosica added that the Molla family “is somehow linked to the mystery of Holy Saturday.” Pietro and St. Gianna's daughter Laura, explained to Fr. Rosica that “It was on Holy Saturday 1962 that Gianna Beretta Molla gave birth to her daughter, Gianna Emanuela. One week later, on Easter Saturday, St. Gianna died from the serious medical condition that resulted from bringing her child to term. St. Gianna gave her life so that the child in her womb would live. And now Pietro returns to the house of the Father on Holy Saturday morning 2010.”
“St. Gianna and her husband are now reunited in heaven and celebrate the mystery of Christ’s dying and rising in the company of the Lord and his saints,” Fr. Rosica wrote. "I can only imagine the scene in heaven on Holy Saturday morning as this wonderful couple was reunited after forty-eight years of being apart. They would embrace their daughter Mariolina, who died as a child, and be welcomed by the Venerable Pope John Paul II who enrolled Gianna in the book of the Saints. May St. Gianna, Pietro and Mariolina intercede for us now from heaven, and watch over all married couples and families on earth."
Pietro Molla’s funeral Mass will be celebrated in Mesero, Italy on Tuesday. He will then be buried in the town cemetery, next to his wife.