Cardinale Jozef Tomko and Pope Francis (File photo from December 2021) 

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

August 10 2022

Pope Francis recalls the ‘great faith,’ ‘wisdom’ and ‘long and fruitful service’ of the late Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, who passed away on Monday at age 98.

“In remembering this esteemed and wise brother who, sustained by deep faith and a far-sighted gaze, humbly and self-sacrificingly served the Gospel and the Church, I think with gratitude of his long and fruitful work in the Holy See as a diligent and prudent collaborator of my predecessors.”

The Holy Father expressed this as he sent condolences for Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, to Archbishop of Košice, Bernard Bober.

Created a Cardinal in 1985 by Pope St. John Paul II, the Slovak-born Cardinal passed away on Monday 8 August in his Rome apartment at age 98.

‘Illustrious son of Slovakia’

Upon learning of the Cardinal’s passing, the Pope expressed his closeness to all close to the late Cardinal whose loss has been felt by the entire ecclesial community and the faithful of Slovakia.

The Pope called Tomko ‘an illustrious son’ of the nation, and praised the late Cardinal’s deep faith, wisdom, and self-sacrifice to serve the Church and Gospel.

He also lauded his work to the Holy See and as a trusted collaborator to predecessor Popes.

“I also think of his prayerful spirit, as he, at an advanced age, remained assiduous in the daily evening recitation of the rosary in St Peter’s Square, giving pilgrims and tourists a beautiful and public witness of love for the Holy Virgin.”

Pope Francis concluded by praying that the Lord “welcome His faithful servant” and cordially imparting his blessing to all who are mourning.

He offered special words of thanks to the Sisters of Mercy of St Vincent de Paul-Satma’rok, who cared for him.

Cardinal Tomko’s funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, and Pope Francis will offer the final valediction at the conclusion of the liturgy.

Vatican News