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Pope presides at funeral of Cardinal Felici

At 5 p.m. on 19 June, at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided at the funeral of Cardinal Angelo Felici, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," who died on Sunday June 17 at the age of 87.

In his homily, Benedict XVI recalled the words Servant of God John Paul II wrote to Cardinal Felici on the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, the 25th of his consecration as a bishop. "Your episcopal ministry, Pope John Paul affirmed, has been entirely dedicated to the good of the faithful, and to the beneficial mission of the Roman Pontiffs and the Apostolic See.

"Today," Pope Benedict added, "we wish to give thanks to the Lord for the abundant harvest of apostolic fruits that Cardinal Felici, with the help of divine grace, was able to gather in the various areas of his enlightened and valuable pastoral and diplomatic activity." The late cardinal worked in the Secretariat of State before being appointed pro-nuncio in the Netherlands, later becoming pontifical representative in Portugal and in France. Subsequently he was appointed as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei."

The Holy Father noted how among the late cardinal's papers was a print of the Virgin, "Mater Salvatoris, as venerated in the chapel of the Pontifical Leonine College where he studied as a young man. On the back it bears this invocation: 'I trust in you, Lord, and in Your Most Holy Mother, that I may not be eternally confused.' How many times must he have repeated the words of this prayer, written in his own handwriting with a view to his final departure. We may consider this as the spiritual legacy he left us: words which, better than anything else, today help us to reflect and to pray."

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