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16-ARCHBISHOP-PIETRO-SAMBI

Prayers for the late Apostolic nuncio to the US

Archbishop Pietro Sambi died last night following complications after surgery

The Catholic community is mourning the death last night of the Papal nuncio to the US following complications after surgery.

Two weeks after ‘delicate lung surgery,’ Archbishop Pietro Sambi (above), 73, had to be readmitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where his breathing was assisted by a ventilator, according to the nunciature. His family had travelled to the US to be with him and asked bishops, priests and lay faithful for their prayers.

Archbishop Sambi, who was based in Washington, began serving as Apostolic nuncio to the US in 2005. During Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 trip to the United States, the archbishop accompanied the pontiff and hosted him in Washington, where the Pope met with five victims of clergy sex abuse

In the role as nuncio, the archbishop oversaw the appointment of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as Archbishop of Washington in 2006 and the appointments of five other prelates to archdioceses that traditionally have cardinals: Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore, in 2007, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, in 2009, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, also in 2009, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, appointed coadjutor in 2010, and, most recently, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia this month.

Ordained a priest in 1964 and a bishop in 1985, Archbishop Sambi served as Apostolic pro-nuncio to Burundi (1985-91), a role he also took up in Indonesia (1991-98), and then in Israel and Cyprus, before becoming the Apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine (1998-2005).

His funeral will take place on August 6 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

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