Source: Vatican News/CCN/ICN
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, died on 4 September, in Cambo-les-Bains, France. He was 96 years old.
In a telegram to Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron, Pope Francis expressed his deep condolences and union in prayer at the news. He noted that Cardinal Etchegaray "profoundly marked the way of the Church in France and of the universal Church." "From Bayonne, his native diocese, to Marseille, where he was archbishop," the Pope said, "he was a zealous pastor and loved by the people he was called to serve."
As president of the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace and Cor Unum, and then as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, the Pope said that Cardinal Etchegaray was an "advisor who was listened to and appreciated, especially in difficult situations for the life of the Church in different regions of the world."
The Holy Father recalled "an emotional memory of this man of deep faith" who had "his eyes turned to the ends of the earth, always alert when it came to proclaiming the Gospel to today's people.
The Pope sent his apostolic blessing for Bishop Aillet, other bishops present, the relatives of the late Cardinal, his former colleagues in the diocese of Marseille and all who will be attending his funeral, which will take place on Monday, 9 September in the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Bayonne.
Cardinal Etchegaray was born on 25 September 1922 in Espelette, in the Diocese of Bayonne, France. After studying at the minor seminary at Ustaritz, he continued his studies at the major seminary at Bayonne and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, obtaining a licentiate in sacred theology and a doctorate in canon law.
After his priestly ordination on 13 July 1947, he started working in the Diocese of Bayonne. In 1961, he began working for the Bishops' Conference of France, and from 1966 to 1970 he became its Secretary-General.
Pope St Paul VI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Paris on 29 March 1969 and on 22 December 1970 he became Archbishop of Marseille and in 1975 was elected president of the Bishops' Conference of France, a post he held for a second term until 1981.
In 1971, Cardinal Etchegaray became the first president of the newly formed Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe.
In 1979, he was made a cardinal by Pope St. John Paul II.
On 8 April 1984, he was appointed President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, as well as of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
Throughout the years, Cardinal Etchegaray untiringly served the cause of peace, human rights and the needs of the poor, bringing the message and love of the Pope to many nations.
He organised the historic Assisi Peace Meeting in 1986 between representatives of the main religions, in the face of growing tensions in the world divided into blocs and in the face of fears of nuclear war.
On 15 November 1994, he was named President of the Central Committee that oversaw the observance of the Holy Year 2000.
Cardinal Etchegaray also carried out important diplomatic missions for the Holy See. In May 2002, he was in Jerusalem seeking for peace in the Middle East, and in February 2003, he was in Baghdad carrying the Pope's message of reconciliation.
On 30 April 2005, Pope Benedict XVI approved the election of Cardinal Etchegaray as Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals, from which he stepped down in June 2017, because of his advanced age. He was 94. Pope Francis personally greeted him as he left Rome for his native land.
Cardinal Etchegaray received many awards including the Knight Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour; Commander in the National Order of Merit; Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary and the Knight Grand Cross in the National Order of Merit.
In 2003 he received the journalistic prize Golden Doves for Peace awarded by the Italian Research Institute Archivio Disarmo.
On 24 December 2009, Cardinal Etchegaray was knocked down along with Pope Benedict XVI when 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo jumped over a barrier and grappled with the Pope, who was making his way through St Peter's Basilica in procession for Christmas Eve Mass. The Pope was not injured, but Etchegaray suffered a broken leg and a broken hip. He had been standing a few metres away from the Pope and was knocked down in the scuffle. The Vatican said Maiolo was "psychologically unstable" and had lunged at the Pope previously.
In 2015, Etchegaray fell in St Peter's Basilica during Mass and broke his leg for the second time.
With his death, the number of cardinals now stands at 213 cardinals, 118 of whom are electors and 95 non-electors.
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