“I will never forget your witness of faith”: Outgoing Apostolic Nuncio in Angola, São Tomé

Archbishop Giovanni Gaspari during pastoral activities in Angola. Credit: Vatican Media

Archbishop Giovanni Gaspari , who is leaving Angola and São Tomé & Príncipe after close to four years of diplomatic service, has said the witness of faith of the people of God in the two countries will remain in his heart.

“I will never forget your witness of faith. The love of these people for God will always remain engraved in my heart,” the Apostolic Nuncio said in his address to members of the Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe (CEAST) on March 3.

He added, “The witness of the Bishops, of many Priests, religious men and women, their work in difficult places in these countries is a great testimony for me.”

The member of the Clergy of Italy’s Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne who moves on to serve as the representative in Korea and Mongolia following his March 2 appointment said he was ready to fulfill the new mission Pope Francis entrusted to him.  

“As these will be my last days in Angola and São Tomé & Príncipe, my heart is already beginning to throb with sadness because I have to leave the country, but I am going to fulfill another mission, in obedience to the Church, the Holy See and the Pope who called me,” he said.


He recalled that Angola was his “first mission as Nuncio, but before that I was a collaborator with the Nunciatures.”

“The countries I passed through were countries where the Church suffered persecution and had martyrs. Albania, Mexico, the Baltic countries, Lithuania, Angola, which also has many martyrs for the faith. Korea too,” Archbishop Gaspari said.

He added, “It's like a thread that leads my life, my existence, so I'm left with this image, that God leads me where I can find these churches fertilized with the blood of martyrs.”

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

Before his appointment to Angola and 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 journey in the Vatican diplomatic service, 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.

In his speech during the formal handing over of the legal and administrative regulatory sectoral instruments of the Framework Agreement in October 2021, the Vatican diplomat said, “The documents approved mark the expression of a new form of relationship, of collaboration and friendship, in which the parties commit themselves to fulfilling their responsibilities.”

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.”


In his address at the start of the 19th National Day of Consecrated Life in the Southern African nation, he said, “In the name of Pope Francis, as his representative in this country, I say thank you for your dedication, your courage, your sacrifices, and your patience.”

“I hope that this moment may serve to encourage and relieve each of you in the exercise of your apostolate, which is always a demanding commitment, as you well know,” Archbishop Gaspari said during the 26-28 July 2023 event that was held at the Salesians of Don Bosco Center in Palanca.

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