CARDINAL CORDEIRO, FIRST PAKISTANI CARDINAL, DIES IN KARACHI

Pakistan
1994-02-14 00:00:00

Cardinal Joseph Cordeiro, 76, archbishop of Karachi and the first Pakistani to be named a cardinal, died Feb. 11 at Holy Family Hospital here after a protracted illness.

Cardinal Cordeiro was known in Karachi, a seaport near the mouth of the Indus river, for his scholarship and wide experience of life obtained through contacts with rich and poor alike.

The archdiocese serving Pakistan´s former capital is now headed by Archbishop Simeon Pereira, 67, who was appointed coadjutor with right of succession to Cardinal Cordeiro in April 1993.

Before his death, the cardinal wrote a series of articles for the Archdiocesan weekly "Christian Voice" called "Lessons of a Lifetime," a reflection of this life experience. The articles were widely read.

The archbishop of Karachi since 1958, he was named a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1973. In 1978, he attended the two conclaves that elected Pope John Paul I and John Paul II. He attended all the synods in Rome from 1967 to 1985.

From 1958 until the time of death, Cardinal Cordeiro was president of the Catholic Bishops´ Conference of Pakistan.

As a prominent Asian Church leader and member of several bodies of the Roman Curia, he was an active participant in the government of the Universal Church.

In 1979, at the Family Congress at Milan, Italy, he spoke on "Family Life in the Modern World" and also attended the Missionary Congress in Ireland where he spoke on "The Asian Churches and Mission."

In 1981, he welcomed Pope John Paul II to Karachi on the pontiff´s way to the Philippines.

The cardinal celebrated his silver jubilee as archbishop of Karachi in 1983 by preaching (with a rotating team of priests) a mission on reconciliation and renewal in every parish of the archdiocese.

Cardinal Cordeiro is survived by his brother, Father Anthony Cordeiro, who lives in Bombay but was in Karachi at the time of his brother´s death.

The cardinal was born Joseph Cordeiro on Jan. 19, 1918, in Bombay, India, to Peter and Elvira Cordeiro, who had been married 19 years. He was baptized at St. Francis Xavier´s Church in Dabul, Bombay, India.

In 1926, his father, a doctor, retired from the Bombay Medical Service and made his home in Karachi, where the future archbishop attended St. Patrick´s High School and served as an altar boy at St. Lawrence´s Church.

After graduating in 1934 from Bombay University with distinctions in Latin and Mathematics, and, in 1939, from D.J. Sind College with majors in politics and economics, he entered the Papal Seminary in Kandy, Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Ordained a priest in 1946 by Oblate Bishop Edmund Pieris of Chilaw, Sri Lanka´s first native bishop, then Father Cordeiro served as assistant at St. Francis Xavier´s Church and St. Bonaventure High School in Hyderabad, Sind province.

In 1948, he entered Oxford University. After graduation, he was appointed principal of St. Francis Grammar School and, in 1952, made first rector of St. Pius X Seminary in Quetta.

END

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