In a telegram sent Tuesday, 16 January, Pope Francis offered his condolences to Mr Luciano Sebastiani, following the death of his brother, Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, whom he described as “a zealous priest”. The Pope also expressed his gratitude for his witness as someone “who generously spent his life at the service of the Gospel and the Apostolic See” alongside many other pontiffs, who “entrusted to him important responsibilities in Vatican diplomacy”. The Holy Father assured the family of his prayers “for the soul of this good and vigilant servant, so that, accompanied by the Virgin Mary, he may be welcomed at the eternal banquet of heaven”.
Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, President emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, died at 3 a.m., on Tuesday, 16 January, in his home in Rome. He was born on 11 April 1931 in Montemonaco, in the Diocese of San Benedetto del Tronto - Ripatransone - Montalto, in the province of Ascoli Piceno. After being ordained a priest on 15 July 1956, he joined the Holy See’s diplomatic service. On 27 September 1976 he was appointed titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Mauretania and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Madagascar and Mauritius, with responsibility as Apostolic Delegate for La Réunion and the Comorros. He received episcopal ordination on 30 October that same year. In 1985 he was assigned his second mission, namely, as Apostolic Nuncio in Turkey. He was then called back to Rome in November 1994, where he was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. Three years later, in November of 1997, John Paul ii named him President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, a position he held until 2008. In the meantime he was created and proclaimed Cardinal at the Consistory on 21 February 2001, of the Title of S. Eustachio, Deaconry elevated pro hac vice to presbyteral title on 21 February 2011.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated the funeral rites for the late Cardinal in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday, 17 January. Pope Francis presided at the Rite of Ultima Commendatio and Valedictio.