The Long Journey of Cardinal Simon Lourdusamy.
He was born at Kalleri as the seventh of twelve children of Annamarie (Matharasi) and Duraisamy Simeon. He had his early education at St. Ann's in Tindivanam; finished his high school studies at St. Joseph Higher School of Cuddalore; then entered St. Agnes' Minor Seminary in Cuddalore; completed major seminary education in Philosophy and Theology at St. Peter's Pontifical Seminary, Bangalore during 1946-1951. He was ordained a priest on 21 December 1951 at Seven Dolours Church, Tindivanam, Pondicherry by Archbishop Auguste-Simeon Colas, MEP, the then Archbishop of Pondicherry and Cuddalore.
Lourdusamy was the elder brother of priest and theologian D.S. Amalorpavadass, who was killed in a road accident while travelling from Mysore to Bangalore. They both are credited with playing most significant roles with the implementation of Vatican II reforms in India and leading others to do the same.
After the ordination, Lourdusamy was arranging the Archdiocesan Archives till the beginning of May 1952. For a short time he was Assistant at Attipakkam parish after which he served as Secretary to the Archbishop for some time. He studied at the Loyola College in Chennai (1952-1953) and then was sent to Rome to pursue higher studies in Canon Law at the Pontifical Urbaniana University (1953-1956) from where he obtained a Doctorate with distinction. He used to play piano and composed music for devotional songs. On returning to the Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore Fr. Lourdusamy served as Archdiocesan Chancellor and Secretary to Archbishop Ambrose Rayappan, Editor of the archdiocesan weekly "Sarva Viyabhi", choir master at the Cathedral in Pondicherry, Director of the Catholic Doctors' Guild, Director of the Catholic Nurses' Guild, Director of the Newman Association and Director of the Catholic University Students Union.
Bishop Pope John XXIII appointed Fr.
Lourdusamy as Auxiliary Bishop of Bangalore and Titular Bishop of Sozusa in Libya on 2 July 1962.
He attended the Second Vatican Council (Sessions 2, 3 and 4 as a Council Father). On 9 November 1964, he was promoted to titular archbishop of Filippi, and appointed the Coadjutor Archbishop of Bangalore. He attended the First Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, from 29 September to 29 October 1967.
He was appointed to represent the Indian Bishops at the Pan Asiatic Catechetic-Liturgical Conference, Manila, 1967 and was elected the Vice-President of the conference and President of the Liturgical Section there. He succeeded Thomas Pothacamury as Archbishop of Bangalore on 11 January 1968. He also served as Chairman of the National Liturgical Commission of India, and founded the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre (NBCLC) in Bangalore. Prior to the International Eucharistic Congress in Bogota in 1968, he was invited as panel member of the International Catechetical study week in Medellin, Colombia.
Pope Paul VI appointed him as Joint Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on 5 March 1971. Then he resigned as the Archbishop of Bangalore on 30 April 1971 and left India to serve in the Curial Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in March 1971. On February 26, 1973 he was appointed as the Secretary of the S.C. for the Evangelization of Peoples, President of the Pontifical Missionary Work and Vice-Grand chancellor of the Pontifical Urbanian University on 26 February 1973, the same University where he was a student from 1953-56. He was the first Asian to become a member of the Roman Curia.
Cardinal Pope John Paul II made Lourdusamy as Cardinal- Deacon of Santa Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci fuori Porta Cavalleggeri in the consistory on 25 May 1985; he was the first Tamilian to be raised to the rank of a Cardinal.
Lourdusamy was named Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches on 30 October 1985. He resigned that post on 24 May 1991 due to health reasons. He attended the Second Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at Vatican from 24 November - 8 December 1985, and the Seventh on from 1 - 30 October 1987. He was special Papal Envoy to the closing ceremonies of the Year of St. Willibrord, Luxemburg, 3 - 5 June 1990. His attended the Eighth Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome 30 Sept. - 28 Oct. 1990. He became Cardinal Protodeacon (the senior Cardinal-Deacon) on 5 April 1993 and served as a special Papal Legate to the funeral of Mother Teresa on 13 September 1997.
Cardinal Lourdusamy played an important role in the canonization process of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He accompanied Pope John Paul II on his Apostolic travels to Africa, Asia, Oceania, and The Americas. He had visited 110 countries on all continents in the service of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II, and received numerous distinctions in appreciation of his work. He had been honoured by the Governments of Philippines, Republic of China - Taiwan (The Order of the Brilliant Star, First Class - November 13, 1983), France (Commander of the Legion d'Honneur - December 29, 1976), Germany (Das Grosse Verdienstkreuz mit Stern - October 10, 1977), Liberia (Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of Africa - November 3, 1977), and Luxembourg (The "Grand-Croix de l'Ordre Grand- Ducal de la Couronne de Chene - June 29, 1988). He was also awarded a Doctor of Laws - "Honoris Causa" (February 5, 1979) by Adamson University, Manila, Philippines and a Doctor of Letters - "Honoris Causa" (May 25, 1989) by Central University, Pondicherry, India.
Cardinal Lourdusamy was fluent in several languages including Italian, French, German, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and Swedish.
Pope John Paul II appointed him a member of the following Departments of the Roman Curia: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Congregatioin for the Evangelization of Peoples, Congregation for Catholic Education, Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pontifical Council for the Family, Pontifical Council for Inter- Religious Dialogue, Pontifical Council for Interpretation of Legislative Texts, Pontifical Commission for International Eucharistic Congresses, Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of the Oriental Canon Law, Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law, Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, The Commission of Cardinals and Bishops set up by the Holy Father to prepare a Catechism for the Church Universal, The Commission for the Study of the Theological and Juridical Status of the Bishops' Conferences, The Permanent Interdicastrial Commission for the Formation of the Candidates to the Sacred Orders.
Death On 2 June 2014, Cardinal D.S.
Lourdusamy went for his eternal rewards in Rome at 5.05 a.m.
Pope Francis sent an official telegram of condolence to me as the Archbishop of Pondicherry & Cuddalore with these words: "Saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Archbishop Emeritus of Bangalore. I offer my deepest condolences and the assurance of my prayers to you, the clergy, religious and lay faithful who mourn his passing. I recall with gratitude to Almighty God the Cardinal's priestly life spent in spreading the Gospel first in India and subsequently in service to the Universal Church in numerous capacities, finally as Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. I pray that God the Father of mercies may grant him the reward of his labours and welcome his noble soul into the peace and joy of heaven. To all assembled for the solemn funeral Mass, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and consolation in the Lord." Cardinal Lourdusamy's funeral Mass was held on 5 June at 11.30 a.m. in Vatican Basilica, presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.
At the end of the Eucharist, Pope Francis administered the rites of "Ultima Commendatio" (final commendation) and "Valedictio" (farewell). The funeral ceremony will be held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry on 9 June 10.00 a.m.
An illustrious son of the soil of India and a Priest of Pondicherry, Cardinal Lourdusamy brought laurels of the highest order to India, and Church in India through his life of holiness, dedication and eminent services rendered in national and international level and through his close collaboration with three Popes. May the Good Shepherd whom His Eminence served so faithfully reward him with the fullness of life, Peace and Joy.
(Dr. A. Anandarayar is the Archbishop of Pondicherry & Cuddalore)
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Indian Currents.
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