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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

Maltese Apostolic Nuncio for Sri Lanka

Fr.Neville Joe Perera reporting from Malta.

Malta, 26 May, (Asiantribune.com): The Episcopal Ordination Mgr Joseph Spiteri - Apostolic Nuncio in Sri LankaMgr Joseph Spiteri - Apostolic Nuncio in Sri Lankaof Mgr Joseph Spiteri, Apostolic Nuncio in Sri Lanka and Titular Archbishop of Serta, was held at St John's Co-Cathedral at Valetta , Malta on 24th May Sunday, in the presence of bishops from as far a field as Sri Lanka, S.E.Mgr.Ranjith Malcolm Secretary to the congregation for divine worship, Mgr.Vianney Fernando President of the Catholic Bishops of Sri Lanka and Mgr.Harald Perera the new Bishop of Kurunegala and presided over by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Immediately following the event, while Mgr Spiteri was surrounded by well-wishers, he told that the role of Apostolic Nuncio of Sri Lanka, at this particular point in its history, was a major challenge and a privilege.

Speaking about his appointment, he said it was "a sign of the unity of the universal Church. The Church is one, so wherever we are, whether in Malta, Sri Lanka or Rome, we are serving the Lord and our brothers and sisters. That is what I hope to do when I arrive there as the Pope's representative."

Mgr Spiteri aimed to help in the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, both personally and through the Catholic organizations there. "I plan to help the local bishops strengthen the faith and maintain good ecumenical and inter-religious relations with the other communities on the island," he said.

Mgr Spiteri's appointment came at a time for Sri Lanka, which was facing many challenges, including looking after the displaced and reconstructing the ravaged areas. The bishop was confident a new Sri Lanka would emerge united, strong and built on justice, equality, freedom and humanity.

Cardinal Bertone said Mgr Spiteri's mission to the far-off land would further strengthen the link between the "generous" Maltese Church and that in Sri Lanka. In the past, he said, many Maltese religious had offered their missionary services there. He emphasized that after the war the work of the new Nuncio is to pacify the all the Sri Lankans both the Sinhalese and the Tamils. About seven per cent of Sri Lanka's population of 20 million is Catholic and the Church was being called to play its important role in the current scenario.

Archbishop Paul Cremona, Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca and Gozo Bishop Mario Grech were also present at the event, with Mgr Cremona saying Mgr Spiteri's appointment was not only an honour for himself but also for the Maltese Church and the Maltese.
He expressed his joy for the Maltese Church and the public and his gratitude to the Holy See for selecting Mgr Spiteri - "one of us".
Mgr Spiteri was born in 1959 and is from Luqa. He was ordained priest in 1984 and, after pursuing his studies in Canon Law, he joined the Holy See's diplomatic service, working in Panama, Iraq, Mexico, Portugal, Greece and Venezuela.

The Sri Lankan Church presented the new nuncio a symbolic silver plate of the map of Sri Lanka at the conclusion of the consecration ceremony.

- Asian Tribune -

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