The Thomas Aquinas College community is deeply saddened by the news of the death of His Excellency Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., who passed away last night.
Archbishop Sambi was a good friend to the College, giving frequent encouragement to three of its presidents — the late Dr. Thomas E. Dillon, Mr. Peter DeLuca, and Dr. Michael F. McLean — and always keeping the College and its intentions in prayer. In the fall of 2009, he offered a Memorial Mass for Dr. Dillon, attended by College officials, alumni, and friends, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
On the occasion of President McLean’s inauguration in 2010, Archbishop Sambi offered the following kind words:
I offer to you my congratulations as your most significant institution of faith and learning, built upon such a solid foundation, makes steady progress in its pursuit of excellence. You are unquestionably preparing students for their rightful place in a society so much in need of strong, exemplary leadership with high moral values. The Church will flourish through the inspiring example and praiseworthy endeavors of Thomas Aquinas College.
“Archbishop Sambi was a very energetic man, who did tremendous good for the Church, particularly in advising the Holy Father about appointments to the U.S. episcopacy,” says Dr. McLean. “Yet he still always found the time to offer his insights, his wisdom, and his encouragement. He was a dear and generous soul.”
Recently His Excellency wrote to offer his congratulations as the College prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary, saying:
The number ‘40’ is indeed quite significant, especially in Scriptural terms. Since it represents both preparation and fulfillment, we now give thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings that have brought Thomas Aquinas College to this point in time, and we beseech Him to bestow upon this great academic institution many sustaining graces for future days. A Blessed and Joyous 40th Anniversary to all of you!
“Although we have lost a friend in this world, we are hopeful that we have gained a heavenly advocate in this great and good priest,” adds Dr. McLean. “We pray for Archbishop Sambi’s eternal rest and for the consolation of all those who loved him.”
This morning’s 11:30 Mass in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel will be offered for the repose of Archbishop Sambi’s soul.
Published: July 28, 2011
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. (second from the left) following the Washington, D.C., memorial Mass he offered for late Thomas Aquinas College President Thomas E. Dillon in October 2009. Others pictured: Rev. John Thomas Mellein, O.P. (’99), then-President Peter L. DeLuca, and his wife, Kay.