In the telegram addressed to Bishop Francesco Ravinale of Asti, Pope Benedict expressed his heartfelt sympathy to the diocesan community, which the Pope counted Cardinal Cheli "among its most illustrious sons."
"I recall with gratitude the precious and attentive cooperation he offered for many decades to the Apostolic See in representing the Holy Father, and towards the Secretary of State, and later as an Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, and finally as President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People," the Pope said.
"He leaves behind the testimony of a life spent in coherent and generous adhesion to his vocation, as a priest solicitous towards the needs of the faithful, especially for the Christian formation of the youth."
Pope Benedict concluded his telegram offering his prayers for the deceased prelate and gave his Apostolic Blessing to all those who "share their grief at his passing."
Cardinal Cheli's funeral will be held tomorrow at St. Peter's Basilica and will be presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary Emeritus of the Secretariat of State.