MANILA, March 10, 2012—Pope Benedict XVI has conveyed his condolence for the passing of Cardinal Jose T. Sanchez in a telegram sent to Cardinal Ricardo J. Vidal, archbishop emeritus of Cebu.
Cardinal Sanchez was prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy. He was head of the Vatican dicastery from 1991 until his retirement in 1996. He died March 9 in Manila at the age of 91.
According to the Vatican’s Information Service, the text of the pope’s telegram gratefully recalls "the late cardinal's dedicated service to the Lord as a priest and bishop in his native country, as well as our service together in the Roman Curia during the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II".
The Holy Father commends Cardinal Sanchez's "noble soul" to the Lord and prays "that his witness will inspire others to dedicate their lives to the service of the Lord and His Holy Church, especially in the priesthood".
Born on March 17, 1920 in Catanduanes, Sanchez was ordained a priest at 26 years old. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Caceres at age 47. On December 13, 1971, he was named Coadjutor Bishop of Lucena with the right of succession. He took over as ordinary of the diocese on September 25, 1976.
On January 12, 1982, the late cardinal was named archbishop of Nueva Segovia, and three years later, on October 30, 1985, was appointed Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The Vatican elevated him to cardinal on June 28, 1991. He became part of the Roman Curia when Pope John Paul II appointed him prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy on July 1, 1991, a position he held until his retirement in 1996, at age 73. (CBCPNews)