More than 20 thousand people on Monday attended the funeral of late Indian Cardinal Simon Lourdusamy in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in his native Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore. The requiem Mass was presided over by Apostolic Nuncio in India Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, and joined in by 40 bishops from all over the country, and more than 400 priests. Among Indian cardinals present were Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, Telesphore Toppo Archbishop of Ranchi and George Alencherry head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Cardinal Lourdusamy died at the age of 90 in a Rome nursing home on 2 June. After a funeral service in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica on 5 June, his body was flown to Pondicerry, India, for the final rites. The late cardinal had wished to be buried in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Pondicherry.
Cardinal Gracias described the death of Cardinal Lourdusamy as "a terrible loss for the Church in Asia." He said the late prelate 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," he said. Cardinal Lourdusamy was one of the youngest council fathers and the first Asian to hold office in the Roman Curia in the Vatican. "Having served for over 10 years as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples,” the Archbishop of Bombay, “His Eminence was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches." "At the service of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, 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". 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," Cardinal Gracias added. (Source: AsiaNews)