Outgoing Papal Nuncio asks for prayers, leaves with ‘heavy heart’

By Christina Hermoso 

“Remember me in your prayers as I do for all of you,” outgoing Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia said a little over a month before he embarks on his new assignment in the United States.

Papal Nuncio Gabriele Caccia (CBCP News / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Papal Nuncio Gabriele Caccia (CBCP News / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News post, the Papal envoy said, he is leaving the country, two years after he started his stint here, with a heavy heart.

“I don’t think I will find anywhere in the world people as friendly, as smiling, as open, as affectionate, and as devoted as here in the Philippines,” Caccia said during a fellowship dinner with the clergy, the religious, and the seminarians of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

The Apostolic Nuncio was in Palawan to celebrate the mass for the vicariate’s annual “Bugsayan,”  the vicariate’s largest gathering of the members of the clergy and lay people from 32 parishes.

“I am asking for your continued prayers as I embark on a new mission,” he said.

The Holy Father Pope Francis on Nov. 16 appointed the archbishop as the new Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. He will assume his new post on Jan. 16, 2020. He succeeds Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who on Oct. 1, was named by the Pope as Apostolic Nuncio to Spain and Andorra.

Caccia, 61, was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on Sept. 12, 2017, and has endeared himself to the faithful as he made pastoral visits to different archdioceses and dioceses around the country. He facilitated the appointment of several new bishops bringing down the number of vacant dioceses from 11 to four since he arrived in Manila in November 2017.