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Message to the funeral service Daniela Di Mauro

Greetings at the funeral of Daniela Di Mauro Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit General Secretary, World Council of Churches

11 April 2018

Greetings at the funeral of Daniela Di Mauro

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

General Secretary, World Council of Churches

“Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9)

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, dear family and friends of Daniela,

I bear these sad greetings on behalf of my colleagues at the World Council of Churches and myself. We are in deep mourning, with you, over our sister Daniela’s death, and we have no easy answers or glib reassurances to assuage your grief.

Only the assurance that Daniela’s life and dedicated work have contributed in a thousand ways to the holy work of reconciliation and peacemaking.

Only the assurance that Daniela’s lovely personality and lively spirit have touched many people with her kindness, her warmth, and her wonderful passion for ecumenical community.

And only the assurance of the truth hidden deep in the mystery of our lives and in our death, that God does not abandon us but takes us lovingly into God’s very self.

Daniela has contributed to many aspects of the work of the World Council of Churches, especially to three of its most important efforts, its work in international relations, its work with youth and its work to engender justice among women and men. She was dedicated to bringing to the fore the contributions of young people across the world, and she has helped to create real ecumenical community among youth all around the world. In all her endeavours, she brought special gifts—a proficiency in languages, a dedicated spirit, and an openness to everyone—that particularly suited our ecumenical work. We are grateful to God for her work with us.

But in a larger way, Daniela also brought us friendship and a lovely and loving presence and spirit. She showed high levels of loyalty, respect and intercultural understanding as a young woman of Romanian-Italian descent living several years in Switzerland. Working with her meant encountering a rare degree of sensitivity and consideration for others. She was a woman with a strong work ethic, and her willingness to always serve showed her deep love for God and others. Her sensitivity was one of her most noticeable traits; it was at the heart of what made her the human being she was: open, curious, engaged, vibrant and creative. As this drew her closer to others, perhaps it also veiled her vulnerability. We will miss Daniela very much.

The God of Life, who raised Jesus from the dead and made us all children of God, stands by us in our joy and sorrow, in our faith and our doubt, in life and death. God and God’s love are always with us, and we are always with God, no matter what. To quote the words of St. Paul:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. (Rom 8:38-39)

We cannot fathom the depths of feeling that led to Daniela’s death. But we respect and revere the brave struggle that she endured. None of us is in a position to judge how much is too much to endure. We can only reiterate our love for her, honour her life, be grateful for the gift of her friendship and work together, and comfort her family and each other with the even stronger truth: Daniela is a child of God, a peacemaker beloved of God, and always with God.

Neither Daniela, nor we, with all our difficult feelings and grief in this situation, can be separated from the love of God. The grace of Christ Jesus, our Lord, embraces us in everything that happens. Nothing can take that away from her or from us.

Let us comfort one another with these words, giving thanks for the gift she was to all of us. And as we mourn the loss of Daniela and console each other with her memory, may she now find the peace in God that she sought here in life. And may all of us find, in her example, the strength to carry on with the holy work of nurturing the fragile flower of peace and reconciliation and hope in our families, our friends and communities, and our world.

 

Amen.