Vatican City, May 19, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Pope John Paul II sent a telegram mourning the death of Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum, Archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, for more than three decades and a leading figure of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa, who died at 83.
“My profound spiritual communion and the assurance of my fervent prayer for the repose of the soul of he who was the pastor of the Archdiocese of Dakar for many years. I wish to render homage to this noble son of the Senegalese nation who gave himself generously to his brothers in service of Christ and His Church, remaining near to the Successor of Peter, an enlightened voice of Africa. Entrusting the illustrious deceased to the mercy of the Lord, I unite myself through thought and prayer with those who, in hope, accompany Cardinal Thiandoum with their prayer, and I gladly impart to them, as a token of consolation, a special apostolic blessing.”
Thiandoum died Tuesday night in a clinic near Marseilles, France. The African Cardinal was appointed to the Dakar post in 1962 and was elevated to cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1976. He retired four years ago. He represented the African church at various bishops' meetings in Rome. In his new book, Pope John Paul II referred to the cardinal's "exceptional personality."