Archbishop Dolan also praised his “keen sense of diplomacy” and pastoral heart.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Washington, D.C. archdiocese said that he is “deeply saddened” by the archbishop's death and feels “the loss because, since his arrival in Washington five years ago, we had many occasions to collaborate.”
“Over the years we developed a friendship that I will greatly miss,” the cardinal added.
Archbishop of Baltimore Edwin F. O'Brien also expressed his grief, calling the nuncio's passing “a great loss for the Catholic Church, especially here in the United States.”
“Archbishop Sambi excelled through his gentle spirit and infectious goodness,” Archbishop O'Brien said, “and the impact of his work as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States will be felt for many years to come.”
John Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America, remembered the archbishop as being “a passionate advocate of Catholic education” who had an instant rapport with the school's students.
“We will always remember his enthusiastic proclamation of the Word, his cheerfulness, and his openness to everyone who crossed his path,” Garvey said.
Fr. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, praised Archbishop Sambi for his personal investment in the pro-life cause and for his continual encouragement of the group's mission.
“In addition to his many responsibilities, which he carried out with great fidelity and joy, he also followed our work with great interest,” Fr. Pavone said.
The archbishop also received a tribute from the Vatican.
“He was a strong personality, a great bishop, an eminent nuncio, who served the Holy See and the Church with passion, intelligence and effectiveness,” Fr. Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican Press Office, told CNA on July 28.
(Story continues below)
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“He made himself appreciated and loved both by the Popes, the Roman Curia and the bishops, the clergy and laity and the diplomatic personnel where he worked, especially in Indonesia, Israel and the US.”
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.