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Philippines

Filipino archbishop named papal nuncio to Spain

Archbishop Bernardito Auza replaces Italian Archbishop Renzo Fratini, who retired in July

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

Published: October 02, 2019 08:33 AM GMT

Updated: October 02, 2019 08:47 AM GMT

Filipino archbishop named papal nuncio to Spain

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, delivers a homily during Mass at the fourth Philippine Congress on New Evangelization in Manila in 2017. (Photo by Roy Lagarde)

Pope Francis has appointed Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza as the new apostolic nuncio to Spain and Andorra, replacing Italian Archbishop Renzo Fratini, who retired in July.

The appointment of Archbishop Auza, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in New York since 2014, was announced in Rome on Oct. 1.

The Filipino archbishop's appointment came less than two years before the Philippines marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the appointment of a Filipino as papal envoy to Spain is "very significant and meaningful."

"The Philippine Church gives her gift and gratitude [to Spain] in the person of Archbishop Auza," said Bishop Santos.

He noted that Spanish missionaries have sown the Gospel among the Filipino people and to the whole world.

"It is indeed a call for us to celebrate with gratitude and with deep appreciation our 500 years of Christianization,” said Bishop Santos.

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, under the service of Spain, came across the Philippines while searching for the Spice Islands.

With his arrival in Cebu on March 17, 1521, Magellan tried to colonize the islands and to Christianize its inhabitants.

Archbishop Auza, a native of Talibon town in Bohol province, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Tagbilaran in 1985. He was incardinated to the then newly formed Diocese of Talibon in 1986.

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In 1990, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See. His first assignment was in Madagascar and the South Indian Ocean from 1990 to 1993 and he was a member of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the U.N. before assuming his post in Haiti in 2008.

Archbishop Auza also served in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican after having been to the apostolic nunciature in Bulgaria and Albania.

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