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Updated: June 10, 2014 14:52 IST

Cardinal’s coffin interred at 300-year-old church

Annie Philip
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Cardinal Simon D.Lourdusamy's body being taken in a procession in Puducherry on Monday. Photo: T. Singaravelou
Cardinal Simon D.Lourdusamy's body being taken in a procession in Puducherry on Monday. Photo: T. Singaravelou

First such occurrence for Immaculate Conception Cathedral in the Union Territory

In a fitting final tribute, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on Monday provided space within the church precincts for the burial of one of its most eminent sons Cardinal Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy.

The Cardinal’s coffin was the first to be buried in a crypt in the Cathedral, which is around 300 years old.

“It is a regular practice for archbishops and bishops to be buried within cathedrals. As a leader of the universal church and member of the Roman Curia, Cardinal Lourdusamy was awarded this special honour,” said Father Albert Thambidurai, director of the Pondicherry Multipurpose Social Service Society.

The Pondicherry church wanted to give him a fitting funeral and burial, added Father Thambidurai.

Cardinal Lourdusamy had also mentioned in his will the wish to be buried within the Cathedral, he added.

Cardinal Lourdusamy, hailed by a galaxy of dignitaries who attended his funeral as ‘an illustrious son of the soil’ and ‘Light of the East,’ is only the fourth cardinal from India and the first curial cardinal of Asia outside of the Middle East.

At the diocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, he had served in the department of Archdiocesan Archives, carefully cataloguing writings and records about the Cathedral.

He had also served as choir master for the Cathedral, composing the music for several popular Tamil devotional songs.

In Puducherry, he helped facilitate means of education for several people, which he then continued to do across the world, said Father Thambidurai.

Remarkably, he has worked alongside three Popes, said Major Archbishop Mar George Cardinal Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese in his tribute to the Cardinal at the funeral.

Perhaps Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi summed up his life best when he said Cardinal Lourdusamy can rightfully claim, “I have fought a good fight.”

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