Pope Francis takes part in funeral Mass for Polish Cardinal

A funeral Mass was held in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Saturday for Polish Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, who died in Rome on Friday at the age of 80. It was offered by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, vice dean of the College of Cardinals. Pope Francis presided over the rite of final commendation and farewell. 

In a message of condolence addressed to Cardinal Grocholewski’s brother, Pope Francis wrote: “I remember with gratitude the meritorious work he did as a valued professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian and Lateran Universities, and also as the author of numerous academic publications.”

In his message, the Pope  recalled how Cardinal Grocholewski devoted himself generously to the service of the Holy See, first as Secretary and Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, then as Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

“In these areas he bore witness to priestly zeal, fidelity to the Gospel and to building up the Church,” the Pope said.

According to his last will, Cardinal Grocholewski will be laid to rest in the crypt of Poznań Cathedral, western Poland. It was there that he was ordained a priest in 1963. Having served for three years as a parish priest in Poland, he moved to Rome to study canon law. He held a doctorate in canon law, taught the subject at the city’s Gregorian and Lateran Pontifical Universities and worked closely with three popes – John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, Rome.

He was appointed a titular bishop in 1982,  made an Archbishop in 1991 and a Cardinal in 2001. 

As the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Grocholewski supervised the activities of almost one thousand Catholic universities in one hundred countries.

Head of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, described Grocholewski as “an outstanding intellectual, priest, professor and cardinal, whose love for Christ and the Church was truly exceptional”. He told the Polish Press Agency that the late Cardinal  was among the most distinguished experts in canon law. “He was the author of over 500 academic studies published in twelve languages. Himself fluent in Italian, Spanish, French, English and Latin, he lectured in Latin and held honorary doctorates from nine universities”.

Source: Vatican News, PAP(mk)

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