Pope Francis paid tribute Tuesday to the first cardinal from the African nation of Lesotho, who died at the age of 91 after a lifetime of service in the African nation.
The pope said in a telegram released April 20 that Cardinal Sebastian Koto Khoarai would be remembered for promoting priestly vocations and Catholic education in the country situated inside South Africa.
He said: “With gratitude for Cardinal Khoarai’s witness of consecrated life as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, his longstanding commitment to the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and his dedication to the Church’s educational apostolate in Lesotho, I willingly join you in praying that our Heavenly Father may grant him the reward of his tireless labors and welcome his noble soul into the joy of his eternal kingdom.”
The pope’s condolence message was addressed to Bishop John Joale Tlhomola of Mohale’s Hoek.
Lesotho, which has a population of two million people, is one of only three independent states in the world entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state, along with Vatican City and San Marino.