Archbishop Sambi was ordained in 1964. In 1985, he was named an archbishop and papal nuncio to Burundi. He later served as nuncio to Indonesia. In 1998, Pope John Paul II named him nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine. Affable and gregarious, Archbishop Sambi's job as the papal nuncio included not only serving as the pope's representative to the U.S. government, but also as liaison for the local Church.
Here is what Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB, had to say about Archbishop Sambi's many contributions to the life of the Church in America during his time of service:
Archbishop Sambi was a friend of the United States in so many ways. He played an indispensible role in the coordination of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to our country in 2008, and so enabled our entire nation to see the wonderfully warm solicitude of the Holy Father for America.
Archbishop Sambi understood and loved our nation. He travelled throughout the country, often to attend the ordination of bishops, always eager to meet the faithful, and to share with them the affection that the Holy Father has for them and their country. He was open to the media as a conveyor of truth and welcomed journalists as representatives of the American people. He enjoyed everything from a stroll in the park near his residence in Washington to the diplomatic functions he attended as part of his service as the representative of the Holy See to the United States.
Archbishop Sambi possessed both a keen sense of diplomacy cultivated through many years of service in the Vatican diplomatic corps, especially in Israel, and a pastoral sensitivity cultivated through his many years as a faithful and devoted priest. Those who met or listened to Archbishop Sambi understood that at the heart of all he did was this love of the priesthood and of Christ the Good Shepherd.
We thank our Holy Father for sending him to us as we now commend the soul of this good and faithful servant to the Lord whom he served with such steadfast devotion. May Archbishop Pietro Sambi, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Read more about Archbishop Sambi.