Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence on the death yesterday, Sunday, September 26, 2021, of Cardinal José Freire Falcão, Archbishop Emeritus of Brasilia, Brazil, of the Title of San Lucas a Vía Prenestina, reported today, Monday, September 27, the Holy See Press Office.
In the telegram, sent to the Archbishop of Brasilia, Monsignor Paulo Cezar Costa, the Holy Father says he received “with grief the news of the death” of the Cardinal and expressed his “union in prayer with the Archdiocese of Brasilia, with the family of the deceased and with all those that mourn his death.”
The Holy Father entrusts “the dear Cardinal to God’s mercy, remembering his precious collaboration in the different organizations of the Holy See, “and his meetings “with this passionate Pastor for evangelization.” He was “solicitous in placing the gifts received from the Lord at the service of the People of God and of his brother Bishops, especially during the years he was President of the Episcopal Conference, “ he continues.
He also thanks “the Father of Heaven for the Cardinal’s episcopal ministry in which he spent himself generously in leading the people entrusted to him on the paths of the Gospel, with the same zeal with which he carried out his previous services.”
While entrusting the Cardinal’s dear ones “to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, as well as the Lord Archbishop, those that assist him in his ministry and all the faithful of the Archdiocese,” the Pontiff imparts to all “his heartfelt consoling Apostolic Blessing, as well as to all those taking part in the obsequies.”
Cardinal José Freire Falcão
The Cardinal was born in Ererê, diocese of Limoeiro do Norte, on October 23, 1925. Having finished his obligatory studies, he entered the Seminary of Prainha, in Fortaleza, where he followed higher courses of study as well as those of Philosophy and Theology. He was ordained a priest in Limoeiro do Norte on June 19, 1949. On April 24, 1967, he was elected Titular Bishop of Vardimissa and appointed Co-Adjutor with the right of succession of the Bishop of Limoeiro do Norte.
The following June 17 he was ordained Bishop and, just two months later, on August 19, he assumed the diocese’s pastoral government. He was promoted to Archbishop of Teresina on November 25, 1971, heading this ecclesial community for 12 years. He was sent to Brasilia on February 15, 1984, and headed that Archdiocese for 20 years.
Faithful to his episcopal motto, “Serve with Humility,” he dedicated his life to the development of the ecclesial communities entrusted to him, animated by an intense desire to proclaim the Truth of the Gospel and by a sincere and profound love of the Church and of men. Saint John Paul II created him Cardinal in the Consistory of June 28, 1988. He took part in the Conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI.
With the death, on September 26, of Cardinal José Freire Falcão, a Non-Elector, the College of Cardinals now has 217 Cardinals, 121 of whom are Electors and 96 Non-Electors.