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Nuncio celebrates farewell Mass with RP bishops

MANILA, 2 July 2007 - Outgoing Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Fernando Filoni will celebrate his farewell Mass with the country’s hierarchy Tuesday, July 3 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.

The occasion will coincide with start of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) annual retreat, as he leaves the Philippines on Thursday, July 5 to assume his post as Vatican’s Undersecretary of State for General Affairs.

The Nuncio is expected to deliver his farewell message at the formal opening of the bishops’ three-day retreat, also at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center.

In the evening of the same day, Filoni will host a simple dinner with the CBCP members at the Nunciature in Malate, Manila.

Filoni’s new assignment would place him directly under the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and the principal aide of the Cardinal Secretary of State. Filoni, 61, will manage the general affairs section, one of the two crucial departments within the papal secretariat of state under His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone.

The outgoing nuncio already spent ten years at the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila from 1992 to 2001 as secretary.

He was appointed papal nuncio to the Philippines in February 2006.

Born in Manduria, Italy on April 15, 1946, Filoni was ordained a priest at the age of 24. After 30 years, he was ordained Bishop and later appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan.

An accomplished diplomat, Filoni speaks English, Spanish, French and Portuguese and holds doctorate degrees in Philosophy and Canon Law.

Upon joining the Diplomatic Services of the Holy See, he served the Apostolic Nunciatures of Sri Lanka, Iran, Brazil and the Secretariat of State of the Vatican in various capacities. (Roy Lagarde)

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