Pope Spiritually Present for Fr. Van Straaten’s Funeral

LIMBURG, Germany, FEB. 7, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The funeral of Fr. Werenfried van Straaten, founder of the association Aid to the Church in Need, who died at 90 on Jan. 31, was held today at the cathedral of Limburg, Germany.

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The funeral services were presided over by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

A message from the Vatican expressed Pope John Paul II’s spiritual presence, commended the memory of this “outstanding apostle of the love of neighbor,” and transmitted the Holy Father’s condolences to the associates of Aid to the Church in Need.

The text, addressed to Hans-Peter Röthlin, president of the association, and signed by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, states that “His Holiness assures you that he will pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Van Straaten and recalls, with gratitude, his exemplary apostolic zeal” and “effective contribution to Christian unity.”

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