The following comes from the Catholic News Agency:
Washington D.C., Jul 27, 2011 / 11:04 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Holy Father’s diplomatic representative to the U.S., died in the evening of Wednesday, July 27, at the Baltimore hospital where he had been placed in assisted ventilation after complications following a lung surgery performed two weeks ago.
On Monday, the nunciature, along with Archbishop Sambi’s family, who traveled to Baltimore from Italy after the worsening of Archbishop Sambi’s conditions, asked “Bishops, priests, religious, and lay faithful” to offer “sacrifices and prayers” for the nuncio’s recovery.
Archbishop Sambi was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2005 as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He began his duties in Washington, D.C. in February of 2006.
The archbishop was born in the northern Italian town of Sogliano sul Rubicone in 1938, and was ordained a priest on March 14, 1964, for the Diocese of Montefeltro. Archbishop Sambi was fluent in English, Spanish, and French, and held doctorate degrees in Theology and Canon Law.
He joined the Vatican diplomatic service in 1969 and served in the nunciatures or apostolic delegations to Cameroon, Jerusalem, Cuba, Algeria, Nicaragua, Belgium, and India.
In 1991 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia and in 1998 was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.
During his difficult tenure as Nuncio in Israel, Archbishop Sambi pushed for safeguards on freedom of religion, equality for monotheistic religions, and increased access to and worship in the holy places.
Recently, Vatican experts voiced Archbishop Sambi as a strong candidate to move to a senior position at the Vatican.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi’s funeral will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC on Saturday August 6th –feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord at 2:00 pm.
The funeral will be televised live by EWTN.