Vatican’s new ambassador to India, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, arrived in New Delhi early morning on Friday, May 28.
He was received at the airport by Archbishops Anil Couto of Delhi and Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of Faridabad along with a few Vatican embassy officials.
Father Jervis D’Souza, deputy secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said only a few delegates met the nuncio because of health restrictions.
“The whole Catholic Church and [bishops’ conference] are happy on the nuncio’s arrival. He is a friendly person,” said Father D’Souza.
Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Girelli, an Italian, on March 13 as new papal nuncio to India.
He succeeded Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro who was transferred to Brazil in August 2020.
Archbishop Girelli, 68, has been apostolic nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.
Born on March 13, 1953, in Predore, Bergamo, in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, he was ordained priest on June 17, 1978, for the Diocese of Bergamo.
He holds a doctorate in theology and a master’s degree in canon law.
He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on July 13, 1987, and worked in the Papal Diplomatic missions in Cameroon, New Zealand and at the Section for General Affairs of the Vatican Secretariat of State, and finally in the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States, where he held the rank of Counsellor.
When Pope Benedict XVI appointed him apostolic nuncio to Indonesia on April 13, 2006, he also made him an archbishop. He was consecrated bishop on June 17, 2006.
Later, on October 10, 2006, he was also appointed apostolic nuncio to East Timor.
On January 13, 2011, he was appointed apostolic nuncio to Singapore, apostolic delegate to Malaysia and Brunei, and non-residential Pontifical Representative for Vietnam.
He was also appointed apostolic nuncio to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on June 18, 2011.
On September 13, 2017, Pope Francis appointed him apostolic nuncio to Israel and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.
Two days later, he was appointed apostolic nuncio also to Cyprus. Besides his native tongue, he speaks English and French. – with a report from Matters India