.- The CEO of Salt and Light Catholic television network has penned a tribute to the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Ventura, saying he was “not just another Papal diplomat” but a friendly “bridge builder” who played a “key role” in World Youth Day Toronto.
Archbishop Ventura, who served as nuncio from 2001 to 2009, was appointed nuncio to France by Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday morning.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., the CEO of Salt and Light and former National Director and CEO of World Youth Day in Toronto, said that the archbishop had helped Pope Benedict XVI in a “remarkable and admirable way.”
“He traveled this country from sea to sea to sea, tirelessly bringing the good news of Jesus and the message of the Church from the home office on the Tiber to the most remote places of Canada. He reminded us in season and out of season of the bigger picture: the universality of the Church.”
Fr. Rosica said the nuncio made distant friends and brought strangers together, characterizing him as a “real Pontifex, a builder of bridges in a world and a country that too often erects solitudes, walls and divisions.”
“He has been an extraordinary, gentle shepherd with a universal heart who conquered our vast country with his infectious smile, genuine goodness, pastoral wisdom, and common sense,” the priest continued.
“You first learned and then taught us over the past eight years, that the great power of papal diplomacy is the hand of solidarity it extends as a sign of fraternity and love for and with everyone,” Fr. Rosica wrote.
“You encouraged and strengthened your brother bishops in their difficult but important ministries of shepherding their flocks and remaining united to Christ and the successor of Peter in Rome. To the many hard working priests of this country, you were a brother priest, listening, chiding, challenging, encouraging, and thanking them for their dedication. To the women religious of Canada you were a brother. And to the tens of thousands of young people who had the privilege of meeting you, and enjoying your warm, Italian hospitality in the Ottawa Nunciature that you called Peter’s House, you lived up to your name of Nuncio of World Youth Days.
“We thank God for the gift of Luigi Ventura,” Fr. Rosica added. “Thank you, Don Luigi for being a Good Shepherd in Canada for the past eight years. Thank you for being a servant of Christ, a servant of the faithful, and servant of all. Another great man of Brescia, Pope Paul VI, Papa Montini once said: Diplomacy is the art of making peace. Those words describe you very well.