Cardinal emeritus Simon Pimenta, the second cardinal of the Archdiocese of Bombay, passed away on Friday night at the age of 93 at the clergy home in Bandra.
The cardinal, who had presided over the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) for three terms, was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the cardinal in 1988 and went on to serve the diocese till 1996.
He passed away at 8.30pm on Friday. The clergy said that the cardinal was not suffering from any ailments at the time. "The news came as a shock to us. I used to meet the cardinal regularly at his Bandra home and met him last before my ordination as the Bishop in June," said auxiliary bishop Savio Fernandes. "In fact, I was in Bandra yesterday to meet a priest who had a heart attack, and the priest told me after his recovery that the cardinal was doing fine and was happy."
The cardinal, who hailed from Marol, was ordained as a priest of St Peter's Church in Bandra in 1949 by the then bishop Valerian Gracias, who was the first cardinal of the archdiocese. Pimenta succeeded cardinal Gracias as the bishop in 1978 and then as the cardinal ten years later.