Pope Francis has joined others in sending words of comfort to the grieving Bush family following the death this week of former first lady Barbara Bush.
"His Holiness Pope Francis offers heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his prayers to President Bush and all her family," a statement from the Vatican said, Fox 26 Houston reported.
Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston read the pope’s statement aloud on the Fox 26 report.
“Saddened to learn of the death of the former first lady Barbara Bush,” the statement read.
Throughout six decades, Fiorenza said, he watched Barbara Bush with admiration as she propelled her passion for improving lives, Fox 26 reported.
"Mrs. Bush was a powerful witness to the whole community and was an involved citizen," Fiorenza said. "She could have sat back and enjoyed the rest of her life with her husband, but she wanted to be involved. She wanted to do what she could to be a faithful citizen.”
Fiorenza also sees the former first lady’s dedication to her family as her “most enduring legacy,” the report said.
"The main reason for the Bush family to be so honored in our history is Barbara Bush," Fiorenza added. "She was a rock. She was a driving force. She was an inspiration and the greatest amount of credit has to be given to Barbara Bush."
Barbara Bush, wife of former President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday at age 92.
In 1985, the political power couple met with Pope John Paul II during an audience at the Vatican as vice president and second lady.
A funeral service for the Bush matriarch, who once called herself “everybody’s grandmother,” is planned for Saturday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. She and her husband of more than 70 years regularly attended the church.
Burial will be on the grounds of the Bush library at Texas A&M University in College Station, about 100 miles northwest of Houston.