Pope Mourns Death of 1st Mauritian Cardinal

Gives Thanks for Pastoral Dedication

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing gratitude for the generosity and commitment of Cardinal Jean Margéot, the first Mauritian cardinal, who died Friday at the age of 93.

The Pope sent a telegram Friday expressing condolences to Bishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis, Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa.

The Pontiff affirmed his «profound union in prayer with the diocese of Port-Louis, with the family of the deceased and with everyone affected by this loss.»

He entrusted the cardinal to the Lord’s mercy, and expressed gratitude «to God for the ministry of this zealous pastor who dedicated his entire life to the inhabitants of the Isle of Mauritius, as diocesan priest then as bishop of Port-Louis, giving the best of himself that Christ might be announced, especially through his generous commitment to serving the defense and promotion of the family.»

The Holy Father stated, «By the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, may the Lord welcome his faithful servant into his Kingdom of peace and light.»

He concluded by imparting a «heartfelt apostolic blessing» upon «the faithful of the diocese, upon the relatives of the deceased and upon everyone who gathers for the funeral liturgy.»

Born in Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius, Jean Margéot was ordained a priest in 1938.

When he was ordained as bishop of the Diocese of Port-Louis in 1969, some 80,000 people attended the event.

The prelate served as president of the Indian Ocean bishops’ conference from 1986 to 1989.

In 1988, Bishop Margéot became the first cardinal from his nation. He retired from leading the diocese in 1993, for reasons of age.

Mauritius has some 1.3 million inhabitants, with 28% professing the Catholic faith.

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