ucanews.com reporter, SeoulUpdated: May 28, 2018 04:05 AM GMT
Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, the newly appointed Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia (fourth from left), in a photo with Korean bishops and representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport on May 27. (Photo by The Catholic Times)
Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, the new Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia, arrived in Seoul on May 27 to begin his mission as a representative of the Apostolic See there.
"The prime role of a nuncio is to help worshippers and pastors at local churches. I will meet with bishops in Korea as soon as possible and listen to what they have to say," the Maltese archbishop said at a press conference upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport.
"I will also work to more closely unify the Holy See and the Korean church," he added.
The former general secretary of the Secretariat for the Economy was named the apostolic nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia on Feb. 26.
He formerly served as the second private secretary of Pope Benedict XVI, and the first private secretary of incumbent Pope Francis until March 2014.
Born on Oct. 14, 1958 Archbishop Xuereb was ordained a priest in 1984. He studied at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome, where he earned a PhD in theology, specializing in spirituality.
"Pope Francis told me to send his apostolic blessing to Korean bishops and worshippers at my farewell Mass with the pope on May 26," he said.
"He hopes the peace process that began with the April 27 inter-Korean summit continues and will prove a success," he added.
"As a papal representative in South Korea, I will convey his thoughts and wishes to authorities in Korea."
South Koreans elected Catholic liberal Moon Jae-in from the Democratic Party of Korea in May 2017. He has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un twice this year, including a surprise meeting in late May.
The bilateral summits come amid a heightened sense of rapprochement and on-again, off-again plans for a precedent-setting summit between Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.