Pope Francis on Monday expressed his sadness at the death of Indian Cardinal, Simon Lourdusamy, former prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches and former Archbishop of Bangalore. The 90-year old cardinal passed away early Monday morning in a Rome clinic where he had been hospitalized due to failing health. In a condolence message to Archbishop Anthony Anandarayar of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, to which the late cardinal belonged as a priest, the Pope recalled with “gratitude to Almighty God the Cardinal’s priestly life spent in spreading the Gospel first in India and subsequently in service to the Universal Church in numerous capacities, finally as Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.”
Cardinal Lourdusamy was born 5 Feb 1924, at Kalleri, and ordained priest on 21 Dec, 1951 for Pondicherry Archdiocese. In 1962, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bangalore, and two years later was appointed its Coadjutor Bishop. On 11 Jan., 1968 he succeeded as Archbishop of Bangalore Archdiocese. In 1971 Pope Paul VI appointed Archbishop Lourdusamy an official of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, following which he resigned as Archbishop of Bangalore. St. John Paul II made him a cardinal on 25 May 1985, and on 30 Oct. that year appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, a post he resigned in 1991 for health reasons.
The funeral service of Card. Lourdusamy is scheduled for Thursday, 5 June, in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, at the end of which Pope Francis will conclude the last rites.
With the death of Cardinal Lourdusamy, the number of Cardinals worldwide now stands at 214, of whom 119 are below the age of 80, and hence are eligible to elect a new pope. There are currently 5 Indian cardinals - all of them below 80 years of age.
Below is the text of the Holy Father’s condolence message:
The Most Reverend Anthony Anandarayar
Archbishop of Pondicherry and Cuddalore
Saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Archbishop Emeritus of Bangalore, I offer my deepest condolences and the assurance of my prayers to you, the clergy, religious and lay faithful who mourn his passing. I recall with gratitude to Almighty God the Cardinal’s priestly life spent in spreading the Gospel first in India and subsequently in service to the Universal Church in numerous capacities, finally as Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. I pray that God the Father of mercies may grant him the reward of his labours and welcome his noble soul into the peace and joy of heaven. To all assembled for the solemn funeral Mass, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and consolation in the Lord.