Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "A terrible loss for the Church in Asia", this is how Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai comments to AsiaNews on the death of Card. Simon D. Lourdusamy, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, on 2 June in Rome and whose funeral was held in India this morning. More than 20 thousand people attended the funeral in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Pondicherry, his native diocese. The ceremony was presided over by Msgr. Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio in India, and concelebrated by 40 bishops from all over the country, and more than 400 priests. Along with Card. Gracias, two other cardinals were present Card. Telesphore Toppo (Ranchi) and Card. George Alancherry (of the Syro-Malabar Ernakulam).
Card. Lourdusamy died at the age of 94. On 5 June, the funeral took place in
the Vatican, before his remains were moved to India. In accordance with the
last wishes of the deceased, his remains will be buried in the Cathedral of the
Immaculate Conception in Pondicherry.
"His Eminence - Card. Gracias tells AsiaNews - worked hard and selflessly for the development of the Church in Asia and the world. His death is a great loss for me personally, a friend and a person for whom I had great admiration and respect".
Card. Lourdusamy was one of the youngest council fathers and the first Asian
to hold office in the Curia. "Having served for over 10 years as secretary
of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples - said the archbishop of
Mumbai - His Eminence was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern
"At the service of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II - underlines the card. Gracias - he visited 110 countries on all continents, and has received numerous awards for his work. He used all his natural qualities and gifts of mind and heart to spread the missionary activities of the Church".
Among the others, Cardinal Lourdusamy was honoured by Republic of China - Taiwan with the Order of the Brilliant Star, First Class in November 13, 1983, said Cardinal Gracias
Now "the Church in Asia and India has a powerful intercessor in Heaven. While we mourn his loss, we thank God for having given us Card. Lourdusamy."