He trained for the Holy See’s foreign service at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and holds a doctorate in canon law.
The Catholic Archbishop was the Vatican undersecretary for Relations with States from 2009 to 2013 under Secretary Dominique François Joseph Cardinal Mamberti. In this role, he was the Vatican’s representative to Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money-laundering watchdog.
The 56-year-old Italian Archbishop served in the Vatican Diplomatic missions in South Korea, Mongolia, the Netherlands, and Colombia, where he served as Apostolic Nuncio from 2013 to 2018.
As Apostolic Nuncio in DRC, Archbishop Balestrero who speaks French, Spanish, German, and Dutch, in addition to English and Italian played an important role during Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to DRC and South Sudan earlier this year.
Prior to the visit, the Vatican diplomat highlighted the Holy Father’s “friendship, solidarity, and closeness” with the people of God in the Central African nation.
“The Pope wants to show through this visit the friendship, solidarity, sympathy, and closeness of the universal Church towards the Catholic Church in DRC,” Archbishop Balestrero said during a January 9 press conference.
He also encouraged the people of God to prepare their hearts to welcome Pope Francis.
Archbishop Balestrero has also championed the need for peaceful elections in DRC.
Speaking to journalists in October 2022 after an audience with the President of the National Assembly, Christophe Mboso, Archbishop Balestrero underscored the need for inclusive, credible, and peaceful general elections in 2023.
He is to serve as one of two Vatican representatives to the U.N.; the other is Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, who is the Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N. headquarters in New York.