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Pope Francis Appoints Gibraltarian Cleric His Representative in Benin

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Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Mark Gerard Miles as his representative in the West African country of Benin.

The appointment of the native of Gibraltar who has been serving as a Nunciature Counsellor was announced Friday, February 5, published by the Holy See Press Office.

The Cotonou-based Apostolic Nunciature has been vacant since June 2020 when the Holy Father transferred Archbishop Brian Udaigwe to Sri Lanka.

“I am honoured and humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in appointing me to be his representative to the Republic of Benin,” Gibraltar Chronicle has quoted Msgr. Miles as saying.

In the February 5 interview published February 7, the Archbishop-elect adds, “My gratitude goes out to my beloved family, thinking of my late parents William and Mary Miles, and to all my friends and loved ones who have supported me on life’s journey and have helped me on the path of faith and vocation.”

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Archbishop-elect Miles is a member of the Clergy of Gibraltar Diocese, Great Britain where he was born in May 1967 and ordained to the Priesthood in September 1996.

He graduated in Canon Law and also holds a licentiate in Theology. He has been in the diplomatic service of the Holy See since July 2003, and has previously served at the pontifical representations in Ecuador and Hungary as well as in the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

The Archbishop-elect who is considered fluent in English, Spanish and Italian, and with a working knowledge of French routinely acted as translator for Pope Francis during his visits to countries around the globe.

Since 31 August 2019, he has been serving as Holy See Permanent Observer at the Organization of American States (O.A.S.), according to Holy See Press Office February 5 report.

In the February 5 interview, the new Apostolic Nuncio to Benin expresses his appreciation to the members of the Clergy of Gibraltar Diocese saying, “I thank my brother Priests of the Diocese of Gibraltar and especially Bishops past and present who have, in different ways, been fatherly towards me.”

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“I extend deep gratitude to everyone in Gibraltar, a community distinguished by tolerance, warmth and unique hospitality,” he further says, adding, “I commend this ministry to the intercession of Our Lady of Europe and to the prayers of the Saints close to my heart so that I may give honour to God and fulfil the work he has entrusted to me.”

On his part, Bishop Carmel Zammit of Gibraltar Diocese has assured the new Apostolic Nuncio to Benin of the prayers of the people of God of his native Diocese.

“I have no doubt that Msgr. Mark will be supported by the prayers of all of us in Gibraltar in this important ministry he will be undertaking on behalf of the Holy Father as his diplomatic representative in the Republic of Benin,” Bishop Zammit says. 

“All the Clergy and the community congratulate Msgr. Miles on this appointment and also congratulate his family,” the Bishops further says, adding, “The Diocese of Gibraltar wishes him many years of faithful and rewarding service in the Church.”