MUMBAI, India, July 20, 2013–Cardinal Simon Pimenta “was a holy man, who will be remembered for his boundless generosity and for his commitment. He was an important leader not only for Catholics in Mumbai, but also for those of the whole ‘India”. With these words, Msgr. Dominic Savio Fernandes, Auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai, remembers the late prelate who died last night at age 93.
Cardinal Pimenta was living in the house of the clergy of the diocese, while waiting for the renovation of his house, near the Cathedral of the Holy Name: “He ate his dinner and went to rest – continues Msgr. Savio Fernandes – when a nurse noticed that he had slipped too deeply into sleep. The doctor arrived promptly, but it was his hour. ” Throughout the day today the Catholic community in Mumbai will pay tribute to his archbishop emeritus the details of the funeral will be announced later.
Born on March 1, 1920 in the village of Marol, near the then Bombay, the young Simon Pimenta studied at the St John and then at St Xavier’s College. Ordained priest on December 21, 1949, he obtained a doctorate in canon law from Rome’s Urbanianum in 1954. Returning to India, he became secretary of Cardinal Valerian Gracias, the first Indian cardinal. Then came a number of positions, from the rector of the cathedral to the teaching of the liturgy in the diocesan seminary.
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay June 5, 1971, he was appointed coadjutor by Paul VI February 26, 1977. A year later, on September 11, he was installed as titular archbishop. He convened a diocesan synod and was dedicated to pastoral and charitable activities: under his leadership, the diocese opened 12 hospitals and 44 dispensaries. From 1988 he was elected for three consecutive terms president of the Catholic Bishops.
Created cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 28 June 1988, he received the titular church of Santa Maria Regina Mundi in Torre Spaccata and continued his pastoral work until 8 November 1996, when he retired from office. (AsiaNews)