.- Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Holy Father’s diplomatic representative to the U.S., died in the evening on Wednesday, July 27. The nuncio was at a Baltimore hospital, where he was on a ventilator because of complications from a lung surgery performed two weeks ago.
On Monday, the nunciature, along with Archbishop Sambi's family, who traveled to Baltimore from Italy after Archbishop Sambi’s condition worsened, asked “Bishops, priests, religious, and lay faithful” to offer “sacrifices and prayers” for his recovery.
Archbishop Sambi was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2005 as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He began his duties in Washington, D.C. in February of 2006.
The archbishop was born in the northern Italian town of Sogliano sul Rubicone in 1938, and was ordained a priest on March 14, 1964, for the Diocese of Montefeltro. Archbishop Sambi was fluent in English, Spanish, and French, and held doctorate degrees in Theology and Canon Law.
He joined the Vatican diplomatic service in 1969 and served in the nunciatures or apostolic delegations to Cameroon, Jerusalem, Cuba, Algeria, Nicaragua, Belgium, andIndia.
In 1991 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia and in 1998 was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.
During his difficult tenure as nuncio in Israel, Archbishop Sambi pushed for safeguards on freedom of religion, equality for monotheistic religions, and increased access to and worship in the holy places.
Recently, Vatican experts pointed to Archbishop Sambi as a strong candidate for a senior position at the Vatican.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi’s funeral will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, August 6th – the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, at 2:00 p.m.
The funeral will be televised live by EWTN.