Don Oreste Benzi, the president and founder of the Community of Pope John XXIII, died of a heart attack last night at his home in Rimini, Italy. Father Benzi was known for his work in helping people overcome the chains of prostitution and drug addiction.
Upon learning of his passing, the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, sent a telegram in the Pope's name to the bishop of Rimini.
In the telegram sent to the Bishop Francesco Lambiasi, Benedict XVI expressed his sorrow for the death of this "humble poor" 82- year-old priest.
The Pope recalled "his intense pastoral life as first a parish priest and then as an untiring apostle of charity in defense of the most vulnerable among us, immersing himself in the serious social problems that afflict today's world".
The Holy Father assured those mourning his death of his prayers for the eternal rest of "this priest who was faithful to his vocation and an ever-obedient servant of the Church," finishing with an invocation to divine mercy for "the consolation of Christian hope for his entire spiritual family and for the Diocese of Rimini," to which he belonged.