File photo of Cardinal Telesphore Toppo File photo of Cardinal Telesphore Toppo 

Pope expresses sadness for death of Cardinal Telesphore Toppo

Pope Francis sends a telegram of condolences after the announcement by Indian Church officials of the death of Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo of Ranchi, who passed away in hospital after a long illness.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis on Thursday, 5 October 2023, sent a telegram of condolences to Archbishop Felix Toppo of Ranchi, saying he has learned with sadness of the death of the Diocese’s Cardinal Emeritus, Telesphore Toppo.

84-year-old Cardinal Telesphore Toppo had been admitted to hospital 3 months ago and he died following a cardiac arrest on Wednesday.

In his message in which he conveys his affection also to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the archdiocese, the Pope says he joins them in commending the Cardinal Emeritus' "noble soul to the infinite mercies of God, our Heavenly Father.”

“I recall with immense gratitude the late Cardinal’s years of dedicated priestly and episcopal ministry to the local Churches of Dumka and Ranchi, as well as his contributions to the wider Church in India and to the Apostolic See,” he wrote.

The Pope recalled the zeal for the spread of the Gospel that marked the late Cardinal’s service, “his devotion to the Holy Eucharist and generous pastoral care of the poor and those in need.

He concluded the telegram with assurances to all who mourn Cardinal Toppo’s passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection and he imparted his blessing “as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.”

Ranchi’s Auxiliary Bishop, Theodore Mascarenhas, released a statement saying that Catholics in the archdiocese “will ever be grateful to him for his immense contribution in the development of the Church of Chotanagpur.

Telesphore Toppo, who became a cardinal in 2003, was the first cardinal from the northern mission area and the first Indian tribal to become a member of the College of Cardinals.

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05 October 2023, 14:47