Archbishop Sambi, Papal Nuncio and the face of the Vatican to America
Statement of Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on the occasion of the death of Archbishop Sambi
News of the July 27 death of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, brings deep sadness for the church in the United States. As the personal representative of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Sambi enjoyed the highest respect and deepest affection of the bishops of the United States and of our Catholic people.
Archbishop Sambi was a friend of the United States in so many ways. He played an indispensible role in the coordination of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to our country in 2008, and so enabled our entire nation to see the wonderfully warm solicitude of the Holy Father for America.
Archbishop Sambi understood and loved our nation. He travelled throughout the country, often to attend the ordination of bishops, always eager to meet the faithful, and to share with them the affection that the Holy Father has for them and their country. He was open to the media as a conveyor of truth and welcomed journalists as representatives of the American people. He enjoyed everything from a stroll in the park near his residence in Washington to the diplomatic functions he attended as part of his service as the representative of the Holy See to the United States.
Archbishop Sambi possessed both a keen sense of diplomacy cultivated through many years of service in the Vatican diplomatic corps, especially in Israel, and a pastoral sensitivity cultivated through his many years as a faithful and devoted priest. Those who met or listened to Archbishop Sambi understood that at the heart of all he did was this love of the priesthood and of Christ the Good Shepherd.
We thank our Holy Father for sending him to us as we now commend the soul of this good and faithful servant to the Lord whom he served with such steadfast devotion. May Archbishop Pietro Sambi, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
July 28, 2011