His Holiness Pope Francis has expressed his condolences at the death of former US president George H.W. Bush who passed away on Nov. 30 at the age of 94. Vatican Secretary of State His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin sent a telegram on behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis to the US bishops expressing the Pope’s sorrow and promises of prayers.
As reported by Vatican news, “Saddened to learn of the death of former President George H. W. Bush, His Holiness Pope Francis offers heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his prayers to all the Bush family. Commending President Bush’s soul to the merciful love of Almighty God, His Holiness invokes upon all who mourn his passing the divine blessings of strength and peace,” read the telegram on the occasion of the state funeral in Washington DC.
Bush served as President of the U.S. from 1989 to 1993. Prior to this, he had served as a senator, ambassador to the UN, Director of the CIA, and Vice President under President Ronald Reagan. Suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease, he was forced to use a wheelchair in the last years of his life. He passed away in his home in Houston, Texas. His presidency coincided with the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II, and the two met on several occasions, among them two visits of the President to the Vatican. According to President George Bush Jr., one of his father’s favorite quotes was that often attributed to St Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel always and, if necessary, use words”.