Filipino prelate named papal envoy to Spain
MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis has appointed Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza as apostolic nuncio to Spain and Andorra less than two years before the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines through Spanish missionaries.
“On the forthcoming grace-filled event of 500 years of Christianization of our country, the Philippine Church gives her gift and gratitude in the person of Archbishop Auza,” said Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos.
Santos made the announcement in a post on the website of CBCPNews, the official news service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
It is very significant and meaningful that the new papal envoy to Spain is a Filipino, according to Santos.
“God’s graces and the Gospel our Spanish missionaries have sown in us are our fruits for Spain and for the whole world,” he said.
“It is indeed a call for us to celebrate with gratitude and with deep appreciation our 500 years of Christianization,” he added.
Auza succeeded retired Italian Archbishop Renzo Fratini, who turned 75 in July, the age at which canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the Pope.
Before his appointment, Auza served as the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, a post he had held since 2014, CBCPNews said.
A native of Talibon in Bohol province, Auza was ordained priest for the Diocese of Tagbilaran in 1985.
He was incardinated to the then newly formed Diocese of Talibon in 1986.
In 1990, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See.
His first assignment was in Madagascar from 1990 to 1993.
He was a member of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations before assuming his post in Haiti in 2008.
Auza also served in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican, after his assignment to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Bulgaria and Albania.
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