Vatican ambassador to U.S. on ‘assisted ventilation’


By Julie Asher
Catholic News Service

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, “has been placed on assisted ventilation” since experiencing complications after he underwent “a delicate lung surgery” two weeks ago, according to the apostolic nunciature in Washington.

Archbishop Sambi greets guests at a papal audience at the Vatican last year. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Sambi greets guests at a papal audience at the Vatican last year. (CNS/Paul Haring)

The ventilation is necessary “to attempt recovery of his lung function,” the nunciature said in an announcement released in the early evening July 22.

“The apostolic nunciature and the nuncio’s family kindly ask that bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful offer sacrifices and prayers for the health of the apostolic nuncio,” it said.

A veteran Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Sambi was named as papal nuncio to the U.S. by Pope Benedict XVI in December 2005. At the time of his appointment he was the Vatican’s representative to Israel and Palestine, where he helped arrange Pope John Paul II’s historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000.

After he arrived in the U.S. Feb. 24, 2006, he said in an interview with Catholic News Service in Washington that that he was impressed by the vitality of U.S. Catholicism, the level of weekly Mass attendance among U.S. Catholics and their generosity toward others.

As a papal diplomat “I travel a lot throughout the world,” he said. “It is difficult to find a part of the world where the charity of U.S. Catholics did not reach the poor or sick people.”

The archbishop is known for his warm and affable manner, sense of humor and being open and ready to listen to people.

During Pope Benedict’s April 2008 visit to the U.S., Archbishop Sambi accompanied the pope and during the pontiff’s stay in Washington hosted him at the nunciature, where the pope had a historic private meeting with five victims of clergy sexual abuse.


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this evening posted the following advisory from the apostolic nunciature on the condition of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican representative to the U.S.:

The Most Reverend Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio, underwent a delicate lung surgery two weeks ago. Unfortunately, there have been post-surgery complications. Currently he has been placed on assisted ventilation to attempt recovery of his lung function. The Apostolic Nunciature and the Nuncio’s family kindly ask that Bishops, priests, religious, and lay faithful offer sacrifices and prayers for the health of the Apostolic Nuncio.

English parishes get game on for London Olympics

British organizers of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics have more than the crown, court and commons rolling up their sleeves to welcome some 10,500 athletes and twice as many journalists to the two events. They also have every Catholic parish in greater London already hard at work.

Sam Adams reports in this week’s international Catholic weekly, The Tablet, that the Catholic 2012 Committee plans on deploying a team of more than 20 chaplains for around-the-clock pastoral care throughout the games, two hospitality centers and 24-hour exposition of the Eucharist.

The church also is offering a “Joshua Camp,” where 1,200 youths will be trained to offer hospitality as volunteers for the games.

The church wants to bring special attention to some tough social issues before and during the games. It hopes to shine some light on a dark side of such large gatherings — the inevitable increase in human trafficking, especially sex workers. Adams notes that during the 2000 Athens games, sex trafficking almost doubled. The church will be offering shelter for the men, women and children who are victims.

Parishes across London are opening their parish halls and starting sports clubs for at-risk youths who might otherwise be temped to get involved in gang violence during the games. Individual Catholics and families are being encouraged to open their homes to the friends and relatives of the athletes.

This is all part of Britain’s More Than Gold project, an effort to involve Christian churches in the 2012 Olympics.