Outgoing papal envoy leaving PH with ‘heavy heart’

Outgoing papal envoy leaving PH with ‘heavy heart’

Outgoing Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, is greeted by people as he arrives at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum to celebrate Mass for this year’s “Bugsayan” on Nov. 30. AVPP MEDIA

By Katya A. Santos

November 30, 2019

Puerto Princesa City

The Vatican’s outgoing ambassador to the Philippines has nothing but good words for the Filipinos.

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia on Friday said he is leaving the country soon 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 so devoted as here in the Philippines,” he said.

The Apostolic Nuncio was speaking during a fellowship dinner with the clergy, the religious, and the seminarians of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa.

Archbishop Caccia visited the vicariate to join today’s celebration of “Bugsayan”, the vicariate’s largest gathering of the clergy and laypeople from 32 parishes.

He then asked for continued prayers as he is about to embark on a new mission.

“Remember me in your prayer as I do for all of you,” he added.

Pope Francis on Nov. 16 appointed Archbishop Caccia as the new Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York.

The Italian prelate succeeds Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who on Oct. 1, was named by the pope as Apostolic Nuncio to Spain and Andorra.

Archbishop Caccia, 61, was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on Sept. 12, 2017.

During his two-year stint as papal nuncio, Archbishop Caccia has made several pastoral visits to the country’s different dioceses.

He also facilitated the appointment of several new bishops, reducing the number of vacant dioceses from 11 to four since he arrived in Manila in November 2017.

Archbishop Caccia will assume his new post in New York on Jan. 16, 2020.