Pope mourns death of Cardinal Pimenta, a man of ‘devoted service’

Mumbai, India, Jul 22, 2013 / 09:46 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to the Archbishop of Bombay over the July 19 death of his predecessor, Cardinal Simon Pimenta, who served as the city's archbishop from 1978 to 1996.

The Pope commended the “noble soul” to God, acknowledging with gratitude Cardinal Pimenta’s long years of “devoted service” to the Catholic community and his many years of “faithful assistance” to the successor of Peter as a member of the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal Pimenta died at the age of 93 in the clergy house in Bombay (Mumbai).

"He had eaten his dinner and was resting when one of the nurses in the home found him slumped in his chair. A doctor was quickly summoned but the end had come by then," Bishop Savio Fernandes, an auxiliary bishop of Bombay, told Vatican Radio July 20.

Cardinal Pimenta was born March 1, 1920 in Marol, a Bombay suburb. He attended Bombay's Saint Pius X Seminary and was ordained a priest of the Bombay archdiocese in 1949.

He then attended the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, and there obtained a doctorate in canon law in 1954.

Cardinal Pimenta served in various capacities as secretary to Cardinal Valerian Gracias, who was archbishop of Bombay from 1950 to 1978. He acted as vice-chancellor, parish priest of the cathedral, professor of liturgy, vicar for the formation of priests, rector of St. Pius X Seminary, and in the diocesan marriage office as defender of the bond.

In 1971, he was consecrated as auxiliary bishop of Bombay, and in 1977 was appointed coadjutor archbishop. When Cardinal Gracias died the following year, Cardinal Pimenta succeeded him as archbishop of Bombay.

Blessed John Paul II appointed him a cardinal in 1988, giving him the titular church of Saint Mary, Queen of the World.

Cardinal Pimenta served three consecutive terms as head of the Indian bishops' conference.

He retired as archbishop of Bombay in 1996, at the age of 76. He is widely acknowledged for his spiritual and various pastoral ministries of charitable works in education and health care in Bombay, with 12 hospitals and 44 clinics opened under his leadership.

Cardinal Pimenta's body will be in Bombay's cathedral the morning of July 23, followed by a Mass in the presence of the body at noon. His funeral Mass will be said that evening at his home parish, St. John the Evangelist in Marol.

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