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  • Sr Daisy Anne Lisania Augustine MSC

Papal Nuncio to PNGSI to depart diplomatic role for new post in Bolivia

Archbishop Fermín Emilio Sosa Rodríguez is departing his role as Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The Mexican cleric has held the post since 2021.

A Vatican Communiqué issued on 17 November announced that the Holy Father has appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia, His Excellency Reverend Monsignor Fermín Emilio Sosa Rodríguez, Titular Archbishop of Viruno and presently the Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

Rodríguez will succeed Archbishop Angelo Accattino, an Italian prelate who was appointed apostolic nuncio to Bolivia in 2017.

The Apostolic Nunciature of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands informed of the appointment on its Facebook Page on November 17.

“We accompany this transfer of our Nuncio with affection and prayer, entrusting to the Lord and the Virgin Mary his new mission which will begin in the South American country at the beginning of the new year 2024”, it stated.

Father Giorgio Licini, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands said, the Nuncio is a pastoral man who visited almost all dioceses of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. “In his time two bishops were appointed and one bishop was transferred to another diocese” he added.

Rodríguez was ordained a priest on 12th July 1998, and graduated in Canon Law, entering the Holy See Diplomatic Service on 1st January 2003, and served in the pontifical representations in Papua New Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, the United States of America, Canada, and Serbia.

The Holy Father Pope Francis, appointed His Excellency Most Reverend Fermín Emilio Sosa Rodriguez, as Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands in 2021.

To be honest, I was saddened to hear that the Holy Father has chosen to move our Apostolic Nuncio, Abp Fermín Emilio Sosa Rodríguez to another assignment so soon.  We all understand that the life and ministry of a Nuncio has an itinerary character to it… like the missionary life of Jesus and the Apostles in the Holy Gospels.  We must trust that there are good reasons for this decision.  It is nevertheless very true that Abp Sosa Rodríguez will be sorely missed by the people of PNG, but especially by the bishops whom he has served so faithfully and well as the representative of our Holy Father Pope Francis.  He has been a truly missionary Nuncio.  We must always trust in Divine Providence, and are confident that the Lord will continue to provide for the Church in PNG.  In this situation I am truly happy for the Catholic people of Bolivia who will be blessed by the presence and ministry of Abp Sosa Rodríguez.  In PNG, we will truly miss him and in doing so, we will pray for him and for the spiritual success of his new and challenging assignment.   Dear Abp Sosa Rodríguez,  “you will always have a home in PNG!  As you prepare to take up this new ministry, may the Lord bless and keep you, and may our Lady of Guadalupe keep you ever close to her maternal and Immaculate Heart.” - Bp Donald Francis Lippert, OFM Cap

Apostolic Nuncio Monsignor Fermin is a down-to-earth person, who is sociable, and prepared to go out on his way to talk with people and to do things himself. Like his predecessor Archbishop Mathew Vayalunkal, under Monsignor Fermin the office of the Nunciature was visible to the ordinary people. The Catholic Professionals had a close working relationship with His Excellency Monsignor Fermin. We praise and thank God for his friendship and wish him well in his new mission in Bolivia. - Paul Harricknen, CPS President

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