ROME, MAY 3, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI recalled his 2006 trip to Valencia, Spain, in a message of condolence on the death of Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, retired archbishop of that diocese. He was 80.
The cardinal was in Rome for Pope John Paul II’s beatification, and he died in the morning on Sunday of a heart attack. He had been in Rome since last Wednesday and participated in Saturday night’s vigil.
On the morning of the beatification, when he did not arrive for breakfast, he was discovered in his room and taken by ambulance to the San Carlos hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Benedict XVI sent a telegram to Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Valencia, in which he offered his “fervent prayers for the eternal rest of one who exercised his episcopal ministry with diligent apostolic concern, first as auxiliary bishop of Madrid and secretary of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, and then at the head of that dear archdiocese of Valencia, wisely and generously devoted to her evangelizing actions, tirelessly supporting numerous pastoral initiatives, above all in the area of the teaching and pastoral care of the family.”
The Pope continued: “On recalling the great service he gave to the Church and the unforgettable memory of my stay in that renowned city for the Fifth World Meeting of Families, I wish to express my most heartfelt sympathy to your Excellency, Archbishop Osoro, to your auxiliary, to the priests, seminarians, religious communities, and faithful of the church in Valencia, asking your kindness in extending my sentiments to the family of the deceased cardinal.
“I wholeheartedly impart to all the comfort of apostolic blessing as a sign of our Christian hope in the resurrected Christ.”
Agustín García-Gasco y Vicente was born in 1931 and ordained a priest in 1956. He was made an auxiliary bishop of his home diocese of Madrid in 1985, being named archbishop of Valencia in 1992. In 2007 he was made a cardinal and retired in 2009.
With his death, the College of Cardinals has 198 members, 115 of whom are cardinal electors.