The Prefect emeritus of the Pontifical Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Archbishop emeritus of Bombay, Cardinal Ivan Dias, passed away in Rome on the afternoon of Monday, 19 June after a long battle with illness. The Indian cardinal was 81 years old.
Upon learning the news, Pope Francis sent a telegram to the late Cardinal's brother, expressing his condolences and his gratitude for Cardinal Dias' “years of faithful service to the Apostolic See, especially his contribution to the spiritual and physical reconstruction of the suffering Church in Albania and the missionary zeal demonstrated in his work as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples”. The Pontiff added, “I likewise unite my prayers to those of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Bombay, where the pastoral concern and broad apostolic vision that marked his service as Archbishop are fondly remembered. In union of prayer with all who mourn his passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I commend the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord”.
Cardinal Dias was born on 14 April, 1936 in Mumbai, India and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Bombay on 8 December, 1958. On 8 May 1982, he was appointed titular Archbishop of Rusubisir and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Ghana, Togo and Benin, and received episcopal ordination on 19 June of the same year. After serving as the pontifical representative in South Korea (1987-1991) and in Albania (1991-1997), on 8 November 1996 he was transferred to the Archbishop’s seat of residence in Bombay, an office which he kept until he renounced pastoral government of the Indian Archdiocese on 20 May 2006. It was on this day that he was nominated Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He held that position until 10 May 2011. Pope John Paul II had created and proclaimed him Cardinal in the Consistory of 21 February, 2001, giving him the Title of Spirito Santo alla Ferratella.
The funeral for Cardinal Dias is to be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica by Cardinal Deacon Angelo Sodano in the afternoon of Wednesday, 21 June. Pope Francis, at the conclusion of the funeral, will preside the rite of ultima commendatio and the valedictio. He is to be buried in the Chapel of Propaganda Fide at Rome’s Verano cemetary.
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