Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A servant of the Lord who had at heart the pastoral care of young people, the formation of new priests and the defense of life. This is how Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), describes to AsiaNews Card. Simon Ignatius Pimenta, who died on July 20 at age 93. The archbishop of Mumbai describes his deep attachment to the cardinal: their collaboration began before 1982 - when Card. Gracias was his chancellor in the Archdiocese - and continued even after his retirement. Here, the reflection of the President of the CBCI.
Cardinal Simon Ignatius Pimenta has been called home by God; a servant of the Lord who loved Jesus Christ and His people. While the Church is plunged into sadness, it is also a time of thanksgiving. Cardinal Simon Ignatius Pimenta passing away has left a deep void in the Archdiocese of Bombay.
A kind and generous and humble person, a Holy priest, a good shepherd to the Church in Mumbai and India and the Universal Church, a great visionary, yet of simple demeanour, Cardinal Pimenta led the Church with leadership and love.
Cardinal was a very keen proponent of inter religious dialogue, and shared a warm relationship with Religious Leaders of Other Faith, regularly calling for Interfaith Dialogue to discuss commonalities and shared values amongst faiths and striving for peace and harmony.
Inculturation was very dear to the heart of the Cardinal, being rooted in the local dialect, His Eminence worked tirelessly to promote the regional language in education and also in the liturgy
Cardinal was an ardent defender of life and was a tireless and powerful voice against any anti Life legislation. His Eminence was one of the pioneers of the Pro Life movement in the country.
For me, the passing away of Cardinal Pimenta is a immense personal loss, I was privileged to be his Chancellor , and witnessed first hand, the challenges he faced, and his collaborative, consultative approach and the wisdom and clarity he responded.
Seminary formation was one of Cardinal Pimenta's great priorities and he laid great emphasis on the Seminary formation not only as Archbishop of Bombay but even as Rector of the Seminary and his love and concern continued even now in his retirement, often enquiring from me, about the seminary formation, the staff and student.
Cardinal Pimenta was very concerned and prayed fervently for the seminary as, he often confided in me, that the Seminary was the cradle from where we get our future priests, consistently interacting with the staff and searching for new creative ways to transmit the Faith Tradition and Magesterium of the Church.
As the World Youth Day is currently underway in Rio, the love and concern of the youth, was very much in the heart of Cardinal Pimenta and he started the Youth Commission in the Diocese, and ensured the youth ministry in a consistent manner.
The Cardinal's passing away, besides being a loss to the Church in Mumbai, India and the Universal Church is a personal loss, and our close collaboration began even before 1982 continued after his retirement where he resided at Archbishop's House.
The Church in India now has a powerful intercessor in Heaven to pray for us, he loved the diocese very much , and will bring Blessings and Graces on the Church in Mumbai and India