Jul 1, 2015 / 12:02 am
The life of Father Salvatore Mellone, who died on Monday, was moving to thousands of people. He was to have at least two more years of seminary when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but by special permission and the blessing of Pope Francis, he was ordained nevertheless.
Fr. Mellone, who died June 29 at the age of 38, had been a priest of the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie for two and a half months. With his failing health, he was able to say Mass daily, baptize a child, and console the other sick persons at his hospital.
Two days before his April 16 ordination Fr. Mellone received a phone call from Pope Francis. “The first blessing that you’ll give as a priest, you’ll give to me. Salvatore, I’m with you. You ‘ll be ordained and you’ll celebrate Mass,” the Pope assured him over the phone.
At his ordination, Fr. Mellone said, “Today I feel myself carried on the shoulders of Christ; and as a priest I’ll wear the stole with Christ, for the salvation of the world. Moreover, to celebrate just one Eucharist, for me will be a real participation in the priesthood of Christ.”
Fr. Mellone’s funeral Mass was said June 30 by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Pichierri of Trani at Most Holy Cross parish, where the priest was ordained.
A statement from the Trani archdiocese shortly after the priest’s death noted that he had a recurrent expression for “the many people who came to visit him over the last few months: ‘to be a priest is beautiful.’”
“Despite his illness, he always warmly embraced everyone who came to see him. He listened to what everyone had to say. He consoled everyone.” …
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