Following a November tradition of praying for the repose of the souls of the dead, Pope John Paul II presided today at a Mass in the Vatican Basilica in remembrance of the cardinals, archbishops and bishops who died during the last 12 months.
During the homily for the Mass, which was celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, the Pope said that “the memory of the cardinals that have left us was particularly present during the recent consistory. In this moment, I remember especially: Hans Hermann Groer, Gerald Emmet Carter, Aurelio Sabattani, Francesco Colasuonno, Ignacio Antonio Velasco Garcia, Corrado Ursi and Maurice Michael Otunga. I also remember Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid.”
John Paul II also asked those present to pray for the bishops who have died in recent months. “It is consoling,” he said, “to think that these venerated brothers of ours, who were zealous servants of the Gospel during their earthly life, are now in the provident ‘hands’ of God who has welcomed them into the eternal embrace of His love.”
“In their pastoral care, they educated the faithful,” he concluded, “by word and example in the true and eternal values, as they themselves tried to become models for the flock entrusted to them. Therefore, we trust that the Lord will reward His faithful servants.”