Bishop Corrado Pizziolo of Vittorio Veneto celebrated the funeral Mass on Wednesday for Paola Bredda, a courageous 38 year-old mother who refused to undergo cancer treatments in order to save her unborn child.
A large number of the faithful filled the Cathedral of Pieve di Soligo to say goodbye to Paola, whose testimony of maternal love was a source of inspiration to the country. Her death, which occurred on Tuesday, was reported in the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano.
Paola Bredda died at her parents’ home, where she had spent her last days with her husband Loris Amodei, and her children Ilaria, 3, and Nicola, the newborn baby boy whose life she saved by refusing cancer treatment.
Paolo was six months pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided to continue on with the pregnancy and postpone treatment in order to prevent the child from dying. Nicola was born at eight months, and is now 17 months old. Paola underwent surgery for her cancer after giving birth but several weeks ago she suffered relapse.
A sacrifice for love
In his homily, Bishop Corrado Pizziolo said, “Paola gave priority to the life of the baby she carried in her womb to the detriment of her own. We can put it bluntly: she sacrificed her own life for that of her baby. There is no greater love than this: to give one’s life for those one loves. She did this. Jesus, and the Gospel he lived for us, is what we see lived out in the life of our sister. A life that shows how it is possible to concretely live the Gospel.”
“We are also here to thank the Lord. It seems paradoxical and absurd to be grateful in a time of sorrow,” the bishop said. “We are here to be grateful not only for the death of Paola, but also for her life, which was a gift” that “gave life to so many people, the ones she loves, her husband, her children…,” Bishop Pizziolo said.
“Our hope is that the life of our sister Paola has not ended. It will still be a gift. United to the love of Jesus, she will mysteriously continue on and truly bear fruit,” he added.
“We need these things because our faith runs the risk of being nothing but words,” the bishop stressed. “We need events from the Gospel like this in order to make it real, in order to strengthen our faith,” he said.