Not even the death of a worshipper was enough to stop Mass in a small church in the northern Italian town of Trento.Pio Lieta, 86, suffered a fatal heart attack during an early-morning service at the Church of the White Madonna last Sunday.
An ambulance was called, and Mr Lieta, whose name means “pious” in Italian, was pronounced dead at the scene.
However, instead of halting the Mass, Father Mario Peron asked for the body to be covered with a white cloth and left Mr Lieta in the nave of the church while he finished the service.
It is against Italian law to move a body without the authorisation of a local magistrate.
Mr Lietaâ€™s funeral took place at the same church today, and his family said they were not upset by what had happened.
Father Angelo Lieta, his son and a missionary in Chile, said: “My father would have agreed with the continuation of the Mass. I am only sorry I could not have been there myself.”