Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 13 JAN 2009 (VIS) - In a homily pronounced at the end a funeral Mass for Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Holy Father recalled the career of the late prelate, who died on Sunday 11 January at the age of 86, following a long illness. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.

  Benedict XVI mentioned the cardinal's spiritual testament, dated 14 November 2008, in which the late prelate writes: "'Once again I offer my life to God for the Church, for the Holy Father and for the sanctification of my confreres in the priesthood'. ... We can say", the Pope commented, "that the entire priestly mission of Cardinal Pio Laghi was passed in the direct service of the Holy See.

  "Always", added the Pope, "he drew inspiration from the words Peter addressed to Jesus on the occasion of the miraculous catch of fish: 'Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so I will let down the nets'. ... He chose these words as the motto of his episcopal ministry ... because when he was consecrated a bishop on 22 June 1969, that Sunday's liturgy included the evangelical episode of the miraculous catch of fish".

  The Holy Father then reviewed the various stages of the late cardinal's life, highlighting how he was born into a family "where he received a sound human and Christian formation, and which he described in his spiritual testament as 'Christian, Catholic, hardworking and honest'". The Pope also dwelt on the cardinal's studies in Faenza, Italy, and at the Major Pontifical Seminary of Rome, and his ordination as priest on 20 April 1946.

  Having graduated in theology and canon law from Rome's Lateran University, "he began his long itinerary of diplomatic and pastoral work" in the apostolic nunciatures to Nicaragua, U.S.A. and India, after which he returned to the Secretariat of State for five years. In 1969, Paul VI appointed him as delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, pro-nuncio to Cyprus and apostolic visitor to Greece; and in 1974 he was appointed as apostolic nuncio to Argentina. There he remained until 1980 when he took the office of apostolic delegate to the United States. "It was during those years", the Pope recalled, "that official relations were established between the Holy See and the U.S. government".

  John Paul II, aware of Cardinal Laghi's "long experience and knowledge of the Church", appointed him as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, making him a cardinal in 1991. In 1993, he also appointed him as patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

  "We must remember", the Pope went on, "the special missions" entrusted to Cardinal Laghi, such as consigning a pontifical Message to Israeli and Palestinian authorities in May 2001 "to encourage them to implement an immediate cease-fire and resume dialogue". Also that of March 2003 when, as special envoy to Washington, he delivered a pontifical Message to U.S. President George W. Bush "explaining the Holy See's position and initiatives to contribute to disarmament and peace in the Middle East. Delicate missions", said Pope Benedict, "which he, as always, sought to fulfil with faithful dedication to Christ and His Church".

  Finally, the Holy Father mentioned the cardinal's "zeal in the promotion of vocations and formation for the priesthood", and he concluded: "At the moment in which we bid him farewell, our hearts are moved by the firm hope which ... 'is full of immortality', the same hope that illuminated the priestly and apostolic life of Cardinal Pio Laghi".
HML/FUNERAL/LAGHI                        VIS 20090113 (620)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service