Late this evening came word of the death of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican Nuncio (Ambassador) to the United States for the past 6 years. The Archbishop had been suffering from a lung condition and was being treated at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Earlier in the week, his family had been called to his bedside, and dioceses throughout the U.S. had asked the faithful for prayers for him.
Archbishop Sambi was a good priest, an eminent diplomat, and very interested in the vibrant pastoral life of parishes in the United States. I had the wonderful occasion to meet him at the "Enthronement" of Bishop Gerald Dino of the Eparchy of Van Nuys a few years ago. Bishop Dino is a longtime friend, and so I was thrilled to be invited to his Enthronement. Archbishop Sambi who "recommended" Bishop Gerald to Pope Benedict XVI to be made bishop, was very much present at the ceremonies, and the wonderful eparchial reception afterward. I was very impressed at how, as I said at the time, "He worked the room like a Jersey City politician!" He went to every table of lay people, priests, deacons, et. al. I'm not sure that he actually ate any food, he was so busy greeting everybody! Even after the reception, he came down to the lounge in the hotel where most of us were staying, and continued visiting with all of Bishop Gerry's friends and family members.
I will remember this very friendly priest, Archbishop, ambassador, and man at Mass tomorrow. Let us pray for each other!