“May the Lord receive His Servant in His peace and in unending joy!”
This morning, Pope Francis, while during his first full day in Mozambique, sent a telegram of condolences to Bishop of Bayonne, Marc Aillet, for Cardinal Roger Etchegaray who passed away yesterday in France.
The Pope is in the midst of his Apostolic Journey to Africa, taking place from September 4-10, during which he will visit Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.
Having arrived in Mozambique yesterday afternoon, this morning the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the Apostolic Nunciature of the nation’s capital of Maputo, where he dedicated a few words to the two deceased cardinals. On Sept. 3, also Cardinal Jose de Jesus Pimiento Rodriguez. Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales, Colombia, passed away.
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray was President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” and his titular church was the Suburbicarian Church of Porto-Santa Rufina.
The Holy Father recalled the late cardinal as a “loved and zealous pastor” who “profoundly marked the life of the Church in France and of the Universal Church.”
Appointed in Rome by Saint John Paul II, to head the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace and Cor Unum, then as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, Francis recalled, Cardinal Etchegaray was an adviser “who was heard and appreciated, particularly in delicate situations for the life of the Church in different regions of the world.”
“I cherish,” the Holy Father underscored, “a moving memory of this man, at once, profound, and with a look turned to the ends of the earth, always alert when it came to proclaiming the Gospel to the men of today.”
Below is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s French telegram.
One can read below it, the biographical note about the cardinal, which was provided in English by the Vatican:
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His Excellency Monsignor Marc Aillet
Bishop of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron
Learning with great grief of the decease of Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, I wish to express to you my heartfelt condolence and my union in prayer. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, whom I entrust to God’s mercy, marked profoundly the life of the Church in France and of the universal Church. From Bayonne, his diocese of origin, to Marseilles, of which he was Archbishop, he was a zealous and loved Pastor of the people that he was called to serve. Appointed in Rome by Saint John Paul II, to head the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace and Cor Unum, then as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, he was an adviser who was heard and appreciated, particularly in delicate situations for the life of the Church in different regions of the world. I cherish a moving souvenir of this man at once profound and with a look turned to the ends of the earth, always alert when it came to proclaiming the Gospel to the men of today. May the Lord receive His Servant in His peace and in unending joy! As pledge of comfort, I accord to you, Excellency, the Apostolic Blessing, as well as to the Bishops present, to the relatives of the deceased Cardinal, to his former diocesans of Marseilles and to all the persons that will take part in hope in the funeral celebrations.
Franciscus PP.[Original Text: French] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
VATICAN’S BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace and Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, was born 25 September 1922 in Espelette, diocese of Bayonne, France. His father was an agricultural mechanic. After studying at the minor seminary at Ustaritz, he continued his spiritual and scientific preparation at the major seminary at Bayonne and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, obtaining a licentiate in sacred theology and a doctorate in canon law.
Ordained a priest 13 July 1947, he began his first pastoral ministry in his native diocese, that of Bayonne, before becoming, in 1961, deputy director of the secretariat of the French episcopate, and engaged, at the same time, in the creation of a secretariat for pastoral care. From 1966 to 1970, he filled the post of Secretary-General of the French episcopate, before becoming titular Bishop of Gemelle di Numidia and Auxiliary Bishop of Paris on 29 March 1969. On 22 December 1970 he became Archbishop of Marseilles (until 1984) and in 1975 succeeded Cardinal Marty as president of the French Episcopal Conference. He was re-elected on 27 October 1978 (until 1981). From 25 November 1975 until 23 April 1982, he has also been prelate of the “Mission de France”.
Even before becoming a Bishop and particularly after his episcopal ordination (27 May 1969), he played a very important part on the international ecclesial level. From 1965, the year of the close of the Second Vatican Council, he was secretary of the liaison committee of the European Episcopal Conferences, and in 1971 he became the first president of the new European Council of Episcopal Conferences. He was re-elected to the office in 1975. His term of office expired at the end of the work of the Fourth Symposium which took place in Rome from 17-21 June 1979. He was also one of the main architects of the European ecumenical meeting at Chantilly.
He also took part in the work of the Synod of Bishops and was also, in 1974, a member of the council of the Synod secretariat. His theological and socio-religious interventions recall the commitment of a living Church.
Well prepared on a theological level and thoroughly familiar with the problems of France and of the French Church, he has given lectures on his researches and reflections at important meetings and cultural center.He also has written about the most burning ecclesial and social problems, defense of human rights as a necessity of conscience and recalls the serious problem of unemployment.
On 8 April 1984 he was called to Rome and was nominated President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace (he stayed until 24 June 1998) and President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (he stayed until 2 December 1995). Throughout the years, Cardinal Etchegaray has always carried out an untiring service in favor of peace, human rights and needs of the poor, bringing the message and love of the Pope to many nations.
On 15 November 1994, he was named President of the Central Committee of the Holy Year 2000.
On 30 April 2005, the Holy Father Benedict XVI approved the election by the Cardinals of the Order of Bishops, of Cardinal Etchegaray as Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals.
On June 10th 2017, the Holy Father accepted the request presented by Cardinal Etchegaray to be dispensed from the office of the Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the consistory of 30 June 1979, of the Title of the Surburbicarian Church of Porto-Santa Rufina (24 June 1998).
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray died on 4 September 2019.