Requiem mass for Blessie Gotingco

Blessie Gotingco
Blessie Gotingco
Blessie Gotingco will be farewelled next week with a requiem mass, "the greatest honour we can pay", says the priest who will preside over her funeral.

Father Craig Dunford said he knew Mrs Gotingco to be a "happy, joyful, beautiful human being" and had been supporting her family since news of her disappearance broke.

They were "obviously devastated", he said.

"[It was] very difficult for the children when the news first broke. Her husband wasn't here so they had to shoulder the responsibility and the grief initially by themselves.

"You don't expect this in New Zealand. We are a very peaceful country and on the whole it's a safe environment.

"It is a wake up call I suppose for us all to really appreciate our loved ones, to not take anyone, or anything for granted," Father Dunford said.

"We've prepared a funeral for Blessie on Thursday at 1pm and that'll take the shape of a requiem mass, which is, for Catholics, the greatest honour we can pay one of our own."

St Mary's Catholic Church in Northcote was the family's spiritual home and Mrs Gotingco was now part of the "communion of saints", he said.

Her husband Antonio Gotingco yesterday spoke at a press conference called by the family, and described his wife as a God-fearing, kind, generous, and loving woman.

"I can't describe how awful the past few days have been for our family. We are just taking it one step at a time," he said.

"She is the light of our home, and without her, we will be lost in darkness.

"Right now, we are just trying to pretend that everything is ok, but deep inside, we are broken-hearted."

He thanked all those who had reached out to them.

"We have neighbours we never knew, putting notes in our letterbox, offering services to us [from] cleaning our house to cooking us dinner."

Mrs Gotingco's oldest son John said his mother's death was a "national tragedy".

Waitemata police district spokeswoman Beth Bates said no further details of the police investigation into Mrs Gotingco's death would be released, and declined to comment on whether a weapon had been found.

A post-mortem examination had been completed, but the details would not be made public, she said.

Birkdale residents were planning a memorial march for Blessie tomorrow, one week from the night Mrs Gotingco disappeared.

One of the march organisers, who only wanted to be identified as Kerrin, said marchers would meet at Birkdale Primary School on Salisbury Rd at 8pm.

The Gotingco family were "very supportive and thankful" the march was taking place, she said.

"Really it's just a peaceful walk for us to think about the loss of a woman's life in our community and for us to reclaim our streets."

Supporters would walk along Salisbury Rd then Eskdale Rd and finally up to Birkenhead cemetery.

Marchers are asked to wear Blessie's favourite colour, green, and bring torches, lanterns, candles and flowers. All are welcome.

- By Brendan Manning of APNZ

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