Nuncio farewelled at memorial mass
The late Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Ambrose De Paoli was remembered on Wednesday as a dedicated and highly experienced diplomat, a warm and personable man with a great sense of humour, and first and foremost, a man of great faith.
The Church community was joined by the diplomatic community in farewelling Archbishop De Paoli at a Solemn Memorial Mass at St Christopher's Cathedral, Canberra.
The 73-year-old Archbishop, died in the United States last Wednesday, 10 October, of Leukaemia.
Principal celebrant at the Mass was Archbishop Mark Coleridge and the homily was preached by the Charge D'Affaires at the Nunciature, Monsignor Jude Okolo. Among those concelebrating were Cardinal Edward Cassidy, Bishop Pat Power and Bishop Max Davis. A large number of priests also concelebrated.
The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Michael L'Estrange represented the Australian Government.
In his homily, Monsignor Okolo spoke on the meaning of death from a philosophical and Christian point of view.
"When Archbishop De Paoli learned that he had only a matter of months to live, he began to get ready, with a very, very serene attitude", Msgn Okolo said.
"In fact, most of his colleagues here wouldn't have even known that this man was dying.
"He enjoyed life intensively. He was very happy."
Monsignor Okolo said that the way Archbishop De Paoli lived his life and particularly his last months, gave much meaning to his death.
"Death is not nothingness. It is something. It is passing from life to life. How we live is how we will die."
At the conclusion of the Mass, the congregation heard brief eulogies from the DFAT Chief of Protocol, Ms Lyndall McLean and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ms Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist, Ambassador of Sweden.
Ms McLean said Archbishop De Paoli was "a dedicated and highly experienced" diplomat, whose appointment to Australia was welcomed.
"Intelligent, thoughtful and reflective, he was also modest but not to be underestimated," Ms McLean said.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Archbishop Coleridge read a message from Pope Benedict XVI for the family of Archbishop De Paoli, to be read out at his funeral Mass in Miami, Florida.
"Deeply saddened to learn of the death of the Most Reverend Ambrose De Paoli, Apostolic Nuncio, I offer you and your family my heartfelt condolences and the assurance of my closeness in prayer," the Pope's stated.
"I recall with gratitude the Archbishop's resolute commitment to the spread of the Gospel during his selfless years of service to the Universal Church as an official in the Secretariat of State and then as Papal Representative in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Japan and most recently in Australia.
"In a special way during this time of sorrow, I join you and all who mourn the late Archbishop in commending his noble soul to the infinite mercy of God our loving Father.
"To all assembled for the solemn mass of Christian burial. I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Lord."
Nuncio remembered as dedicated diplomat, good friend and man of faith
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Apostolic Nunciature (Official Catholic Directory Australia)
New Apostolic Nuncio for Australia (CathNews, 20/12/04)
Archhbishop Wilson's sadness over Nuncio De Paoli's death (CathNews, 15/10/07)
Nuncio dies in US (CathNews, 11/10/07)
18 Oct 2007