VATICAN CITY, JAN. 22, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is message Benedict XVI sent upon hearing of the death of Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u, retired archbishop of Samoa-Apia, first Polynesian bishop in the history of the Church.
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To my Brother
His Excellency Alapati Lui Mataeliga
Archbishop of Samoa-Apia
Having learned with sorrow of the death of Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u, S.M., I offer heartfelt condolences to you and all the clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Samoa-Apia, together with the members of the Society of Mary.
I also extend my sympathy to the civic authorities of the region and indeed all the peoples of the Pacific, for whom the late cardinal has been a towering figure of unwavering commitment to the truth and love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At this time of deep mourning I join with you in praying that, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, God our merciful father will grant him the reward of his labors and welcome his noble soul into the joy and peace of heaven.
To all assembled for the solemn Mass of Christian burial I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Lord.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI