New PH envoy to Vatican embraces ‘ora et labora’
Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa attends Mass to celebrate the World Day of Consecrated Life at the Manila Cathedral on Feb. 2, 2018. ROY LAGARDE
February 5, 2018
A product of the Benedictines, a long time envoy nominated as ambassador to the Vatican understood and had embraced the spirit St. Benedict, whose motto was “ora et labora,” – “prayer and work”.
For 31 years of serving in the diplomatic service, Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa said the two are inseparable, adding that prayer acts as the core of all her work.
“I always pray, discern, and contemplate to seek what God and country wants me to do,” said Princesa, who is currently the assistant secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Legislative Liaison Unit.
The envoy made her first public appearance after her nomination as the Philippine ambassador to the Holy See at the Manila Cathedral during Mass for the World Day of Consecrated Persons on February 2.
Princesa said she was humbled by her appointment although she has yet to face the powerful Commission on Appointments in a bid to secure congressional approval on her appointment.
“We pray for a smooth confirmation and, God-willing, approval of the Vatican,” said Princesa, who had served as the first female Philippine ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
She also had previous postings in Iraq, USA, Egypt and Switzerland.
Princesa is an alumna of the St. Agnes Academy, a Benedictine-run school in Legazpi City, Albay.
Unknown to many, she is also a member of the Regina Rosarii Contemplative Association, the Catholic Women’s League, the Handmaid of the Lord and the Light of Jesus Family.
If confirmed, Princesa vowed to help improve the Philippine-Vatican relations “since we have some commonalities on the issues on migration, climate change, and interfaith” and assist the Filipino religious community in Rome.
Duterte names new envoy to the Vatican
MANILA— As had been expected for the past week, President Rodrigo Duterte has nominated Grace Relucio-Princesa as Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See.
“Nanay Amba,” as she is known by friends, had spent more than 20 years in the Philippine Diplomatic Service before she was named Assistant Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Department’s Legislative Liaison Unit.
She was the first female Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and had previous postings in Iraq, USA, Egypt and Switzerland.
Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP’s Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, has welcomed the nomination, saying that it’s an added “blessing” for Princesa “to work in Vatican and for the Vatican”.
“Nanay Amba is very known for our OFWs in UAE where she was posted before. She has her heart for OFWs, truly caring and working for their well-being,” Santos said.
The bishop said that they are ready to work with Princesa, whose nomination was announced by Malacañang over the weekend.
“We welcome her appointment, extends our cooperation and collaboration with her,” he said.
In Italy, aside from the 57 Filipino centers all over the country, the CBCP has at least five Filipino chaplaincies in Rome, Milan, Bergamo, Padova and Florence.
“Our OFWs fill the Italian churches, and helping the parishes as pastoral workers. And our OFWs in Italy are very hardworking, very religious and honesty is their natural traits,” said Santos.
“Surely it will be holy and happy relationships of Nanay Amba Grace with our OFWs, priests and religious sisters,” he added.
Princesa’s nomination must be approved by the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA). There has been no vocal opposition to her appointment, so far. CBCPNews