Message of Condolence
Condolence Message from His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias on the Passing Away of His Eminence, Telesphore Cardinal Toppo
My sincerest condolences on the passing away of Cardinal Telesphore Toppo yesterday.
We were deeply distressed when we received the news that Cardinal Toppo was seriously ill and needed emergency medical treatment. Then we got the news that the Lord had called him to himself. I wanted to be present and would have certainly come for the funeral mass but for my needed presence in Rome for the Synod of Bishops. But we prayed for him. I offered mass for him.
Cardinal Toppo and I were good friends. Our friendship went back to his days as a young bishop, even before he came to Ranchi. We had much in common because I had worked in Jamshedpur, then in the undivided Bihar. I had visited Ranchi several times.
At the Episcopal Conferences level, we collaborated much. He was the President of the CBCI when I was the President of CCBI, and I succeeded him both at the CBCI and CCBI. I consulted him often. He was energetic, creative and had intense love for the Church and for God’s people.
His dream project was the Ranchi Medical College. I visited him a couple of times in Ranchi to discuss this project and he was able to get the ball rolling. It must have been a great joy for him to spend his last days in his dream hospital.
He was India’s first Tribal Cardinal and was much appreciated by all in Rome – for his gentleness, wisdom, his warmth and his simplicity. He will be missed much. When I spoke to the Holy Father about his death, he spoke affectionately about him. I have lost a dear friend and a close collaborator.
He will surely pray for the Church in India, specially for the Tribal people and for all dear to him. I don’t think I am being presumptuous when I consider myself as one of them.
Thank you, Cardinal Toppo, for all that you did. We will miss you. The Church in India will miss you.
+Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay
October 5, 2023