On the 42nd anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese, this article recounts his final days and words spoken; taken from the biography written by Sr. Petra-Maria Steiner entitled, "Servant of God Padre Domenico da Cese, O.F.M., Capuchin, an Illustrated Biography" with permission.
After viewing the Shroud of Turin approximately 11:00 a.m. on September 13, 1978 in the Cathedral of Turin, that evening Padre Domenico was struck crossing the street by a speeding Fiat driven by Giovanni Cardelli.
Francesco Chionni who was with Padre Domenico at the time stated, "We arrived around 8:40 p.m., Padre Domenico was about to cross the road which was completely free. Everything was quiet, there was no traffic. I was a few yards behind him and I was carrying his bag. Suddenly, a Fiat 500 came at full speed and hitting directly the Father, who was about 1 meter (yard) from the sidewalk, knocking him to the ground. He fell like Jesus under the cross; he was bleeding from the nose and from the wounds on his head. We thought he was dead on the spot. I shouted: "Padre Pio, save him! Madonna, save him!" I lifted his head, held it in my hands, and heard him murmur, "What a blow! It could only be me!"
Padre Domenico was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital, "Mauriziano". Since there were no beds free and he was in severe chest and shoulder pain, he was transported to the main hospital, "Molinette". He also suffered from broken ribs.
Thursday, September 14th, Sante Burchi who slept in the same room, heard Padre Domenico talking in his sleep, as if he were hearing confessions and absolving them. Fr. Pietro from Manoppello, Don Aldo Bollini, and A. Ruffini visited Padre Domenico along with Giovanni Cardelli the young driver who was inconsolable also came daily. Fr. Pietro thought it was a matter of time before Padre Domenico would recover, he had a large hematoma on his back but remained cheerful.
Photos and pages courtesy of Sr. Petra-Maria Steiner.
On September 20,1978 the solemn funeral mass was held at 4:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello, approximately 60 priests along with a huge crowd participated. The Bishop of Chieti-Vasto officiated, the future Cardinal Vincenzo Fagiolo.
Padre Domenico was laid to rest in his family tomb in Cese, Italy. Hopefully, we pray that someday his mortal remains will return to the Basilica of the Volto Santo in Manoppello.
Let us not be sadden, but rejoice that we now have an intercessor for us in Heaven who is seeing the Face of the One he adored daily on earth in the Volto Santo.
Padre Domenico pray for us!