The Pope sent various telegrams of condolence on the death of Cardinal Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan yesterday at the age 74 in Rome. The late cardinal was president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In the telegram sent to Bishop Paul Nguyen Van Hoa of Nha Trang, president of the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam, the Holy Father said: "this great priestly and episcopal figure of his country, that gave witness to his faith in Christ with exemplary fidelity and courage, being closely associated to his mission through his ministry and his passion due to the suffering that he endured. On the Pontifical Council, he was a craftsman, convinced and full of affection, of reconciliation, justice and peace among human beings and peoples. ... May his testimony," he concluded, "strengthen and encourage pastors and the faithful in proclaiming the Gospel". The Holy Father also wrote a telegram to the mother of the deceased cardinal and to Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the dicastery, and other officials. In both, he emphasizes his heroic life and complete fidelity to the Church, including "during the hard time of persecution". John Paul II will preside at the funeral of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan on the Altar of the Confession in the Vatican Basilica at 5.30 pm this Friday. The Eucharistic liturgy will be celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, along with other cardinals. source: Vatican Information Service
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