Priest calls death of lector on Flores island a 'blessing from God'
Regina Dominika Hiwan with her husband Serfasius Gaya Selasa in this undated photo in front of Saint Maria Reinha Rosari Chapel at Waemasa Mission Station, Ruteng Diocese. Hiwan died during a Good Friday service on April 15. (Photo supplied)
A woman who served as a lector during a Good Friday service on Indonesia’s Catholic-majority island of Flores suddenly collapsed and died while reading from the holy book, prompting a priest to call her death a “blessing from God.”
Regina Dominika Hiwan, 45, fell ill in the pulpit at Saint Maria Reinha Rosari Chapel at Waemasa Mission Station in Ruteng Diocese before being declared dead by medics.
Her husband, Serfasius Gaya Selasa, who also served as a lector at the service, told UCA News on April 18 that his wife was "just about to finish the first reading when she suddenly fell to the ground."
The tragedy occurred about 15 minutes into the afternoon service. Medics from a nearby health center rushed to the chapel where they pronounced her dead.
It was not immediately known how she died but Serfasius said his wife had a history of high blood pressure but was in good health prior to attending the service.
"She was very enthusiastic about carrying out church tasks," he said.
“Many people would wish to die in a Good Friday service, but God does not grant it. Regina was gifted to take part in the passion of suffering and resurrection on Easter"
“Strangely, while on the way to the chapel, we were talking about dying on Good Friday and I said, 'If someone dies on Good Friday, they will go straight to heaven.' She replied, 'You're right.’ That gave me goose bumps,'' he added.
The mother of three's death was widely discussed among local Catholics, including on social media.
During the Requiem Mass before her burial on April 16, local priest Father Emil Sarimas called Hiwan 's death a "rare occurrence" and a gift from God.
“Many people would wish to die in a Good Friday service, but God does not grant it. Regina was gifted to take part in the passion of suffering and resurrection on Easter," Father Sarimas was quoted as saying by news portal Pojokbebas.com.
“In the light of Easter, may God strengthen the husband and children she left behind. May this sad event be an event of joy … because Regina went with God on Good Friday," he added.
Share your comments