Msgr. Arnaldo Catalan (Photo from RCAM)

POPE FRANCIS has appointed a Thomasian, Msgr. Arnaldo Catalan, as the new apostolic nuncio to Rwanda, the Vatican announced on Monday.

He will replace Polish Archbishop Andrzej Józwowicz, who was assigned to Iran in 2021. 

Catalan will be ordained archbishop, with the titular see of Apollonia. 

In a statement, Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula thanked the Pope “for his gift and honor,” and considered the appointment of Catalan as “historic, being the first priest of the Archdiocese of Manila to become a nuncio.” 

Catalan obtained his bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the UST Central Seminary, where he studied from 1989 to 1992. He was ordained priest on March 25, 1994.  

He joined the Vatican’s diplomatic service on July 1, 2001, serving in Zambia, India, Kuwait, Mexico, Honduras, Turkey, India, Argentina, Canada, and the Philippines.  

Before his latest appointment, he was chargé d’affaires — a diplomatic representative who temporarily takes the place of an ambassador — of the Vatican diplomatic mission in China.

Catalan is among four Filipinos in active service as the Pope’s envoys.

The others are Thomasians Archbishop Francisco Padilla, the nuncio to Guatemala; Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the nuncio to Spain; Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, the nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.

The details of Catalan’s episcopal ordination have yet to be announced. With reports from Julian A. Galaura Jr.


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