In the midst of various political activities in Italy, the mournful tolling of bells soon confirmed that Pope Gregory XVI had died in Rome at the age of 80.
Don Bosco, speaking to his boys, praised the fervor of the deceased Pontiff and emphasized the grave loss to the Church. After a fervent exhortation, he invited the boys to join him in reciting five decades of the rosary for the repose of the Pope's soul.
On June 16, 1846, Cardinal John Mastai Ferretti, Bishop of Imola, was elected Pope and took the name Pius IX. Shortly after the news was received, even in the humble little chapel of St. Francis de Sales, a hymn of thanksgiving rose to God for having given the Church another father of all the faithful, one who would turn out to be also a great benefactor of the Oratory.