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Cardinal Lourdusamy Goes to His Heavenly Abode
Update on:02-Jun-2014

Rome: Cardinal Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy, the first Asian to become a member of the Roman Curia and the first Tamil become a prince of the Church, died Monday in Rome. He was 90.

Cardinal Lourdusamy was leading a retired life in Rome when the end came Monday morning. He has served several Vatican offices, including the Congregation for the Oriental Churches as its prefect.

He took over as the prefect of Congregation for the Oriental Churches in 1985, from Cardinal Wladyslaw Rubin. He resigned from the post in 1991 and Cardinal Achille Silvestrini succeeded him.

Cardinal Lourdusamy has accompanied Saint John Paul II on his travels to Africa, Asia, Oceania, and The Americas. He had visited 110 countries in the service of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II. He was fluent in languages such as English, Italian, French, German, Tamil, Latin, Kannada, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish.

Cardinal Lourdusamy was born on February 5, 1924, at Kottuchery, Karaikal, Pondicherry, and ordained a priest in 1951. He studied in Loyola College Chennai, St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, Bangalore and Pontifical Urbaniana University. He became a bishop in 1962 and a cardinal 23 years later.

When St Pope John XXIII appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Bangalore in 1962 he chose “To build the house of God” as his motto. Two years later, he was promoted as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Bangalore. In 1968, he succeeded Thomas Pothacamury as the archbishop of Bangalore, a post he held for three years.

As the Bangalore archbishop, he also served as the chairman of the National Liturgical Commission of India and founded the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre in Bangalore with his younger brother Fr S Amalorpavadoss as the director.

Blessed Pope Paul VI appointed him the joint secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 1971. He resigned as the Bangalore archbishop the same year and left India to serve in the Vatican Curia. He has remained in Rome since then.

He was the secretary of Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome from 1973 to 1985, the year he was appointed cardinal-deacon of S. Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci fuori Porta Cavalleggeri.

He was appointed the Proto-deacon of College of Cardinals for three years from 1993 because he was the seniormost cardinal. He was president of the Pontifical Missionary Work and vice-grand chancellor of his alma mater Pontifical Urbanian University.

He served as a special papal legate to the funeral of Mother Teresa in Kolkata (then Calcutta) on September 13, 1997.

Prior to the International Eucharistic Congress in Bogota in 1968, he was invited as panel member of the International Catechetical study week in Medellin, Colombia.

He attended the Second Vatican Council as a council father. He also attended the First Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican in 1967. He was appointed to represent the Indian Bishops at the Pan Asiatic Catechetic-Liturgical Conference, Manila, 1967, and was elected the vice-president of the conference and president of the Liturgical Section there.

He had attended the Second Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican in 1985. He was special papal envoy to the closing ceremonies of the Year of St. Willibrord, Luxemburg, in 1990.

He was honored by the Philippines, Taiwan, France, Germany, Liberia and Luxembourg. He was also awarded a Doctor of Laws by Adamson University, Manila, Philippines and a Doctor of Letters by Central University, Pondicherry, India.

Cardinal Lourdusamy's funeral will be held on 5 June at 11.30 a.m. at the altar of the Vatican Basilica, and will be presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. At the end of the Eucharist, Pope Francis will administer the rites of “Ultima Commendatio” and “Valedictio”.




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