Outgoing Apostolic Nuncio Lauds “wonderful partnership” between Angola, São Tomé & Príncipe and Vatican

Archbishop Giovanni Gaspari with Pope Francis in Rome. Credit: Vatican Media

Archbishop Giovanni Gaspari, who has been representing the Holy Father in Angola and São Tomé & Príncipe for close to four years has described as “wonderful” the collaboration between the Holy See and the two African nations.

Speaking to journalists after a farewell audience with the Speaker of Angola’s National Assembly, Carolina Cerqueira on Wednesday, March 27, Archbishop Gaspari expressed his “gratitude to the civil authorities for the wonderful partnership they have with the Holy See, bonds of friendship between the Republic of Angola and the Holy See that go back centuries.”

He added, “I have great feelings about the people of this country who are extraordinary. It's a people who know how to express feelings of true friendship, of affection and this is engraved in my heart.”

The member of the Clergy of Italy’s Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne, who is set to represent the Holy Father in Korea and Mongolia following his March 2 appointment also praised the work of the Catholic Church in Angola, where he was based since he started his mission as Apostolic Nuncio.

“Gratitude also to the Catholic Church here in Angola, which is doing great, beautiful, important work for the good of the people and for human dignity; this is our mission,” he said. 


Archbishop Gaspari went on to recall the situation across the globe when he arrived in Angola after he was Consecrated Bishop in October 2020. 

“I arrived at a time that wasn't easy, the time of COVID-19, but despite everything it was possible for me to have several important meetings, to get to know the Catholic Church in Angola and also to get to know other Christian churches, other religious denominations with which we obviously always have relations,” he said.

Responding to a question about his new mission in Korea and Mongolia, the Italian-born Vatican diplomat said, “I don't know the country I'm going to, but I know I'm going to find a very dynamic Catholic community, very alive, with a large presence of religious priests and that's a great consolation for me.”     

Ordained a Priest of the Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne in Central Italy in July 1987, the  60-year-old Apostolic Nuncio joined the Holy See diplomatic service in July 2001.

Before his appointment to Angola and São Tomé & Príncipe, his inaugural service as Apostolic Nuncio when he was assigned the Titular See of Alba Marittima in Croatia, Archbishop Gaspari had served in Apostolic Nunciatures of Iran, Albania, Mexico, and Lithuania.

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As part of his service in the Vatican diplomatic department, the Catholic Church leader, who, besides his native Italian language, also speaks English, Spanish, and French also served in the Section for Relations with States of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

He is set to succeed Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, who resigned as Apostolic Nuncio to Korea and Mongolia in June 2023, and was appointed the Apostolic Nuncio to Morocco last December.

In September 2019, Archbishop Gaspari witnessed the signing of a framework agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Angola, and witnessed the formal handing over of the legal and administrative regulatory sectoral instruments of the Framework Agreement in October 2021.

Last July, Archbishop Gaspari acknowledged with appreciation the services of women and men Religious in Angola and reminded them that the Church looks upon them with “admiration and gratitude.”

João Vissesse is an Angolan Journalist with a passion and rich experience in Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate.