Pope Francis Appoints Apostolic Nuncio to Morocco, Bishop for Nigeria’s Ilorin Diocese

Archbishop Alfred Xuereb (right), appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Morocco and Mons. Anselm Pendo Lawani (left), appointed Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Ilorin in Nigeria. Credit: Catholic Broadcast Nigeria/Vatican Media

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Alfred Xuereb as Apostolic Nuncio to Morocco and Mons. Anselm Pendo Lawani as Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Ilorin in Nigeria. 

The appointment of the Mons. Lawani to shepherd the people of God in Ilorin Diocese and that of the Maltese Clergy of  Gozo Diocese to represent him in Morocco was published by the Holy See Press Office on Friday, December 8.

Morocco has been without an Apostolic Nuncio since June this year when Archbishop Vito Rallo who had been at the helm of the nunciature since December 2015 retired.

Born in October 1958, Archbishop Xuereb who resigned as Nuncio to Mongolia in June this year was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Gozo in May 1984.

He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in February and since then, he has served in various Apostolic Nunciatures, including Korea, Mongolia, and Amantea.


Archbishop Xuereb will be the sixth Apostolic Nuncio to the Moroccan Nunciature that was established in January 1976.

In the same December 8 administrative changes, Pope Francis also appointed Mons. Lawani to shepherd the Diocese of Ilorin that has been vacant since January last year following the demise of Bishop Paul Adegboyega Olawoore who had been at the helm of the Nigerian Diocese since June 2019.

Until his appointment to shepherd the Nigerian Diocese, the Bishop-elect has been serving as the Diocesan Administrator of the same Diocese.

Born in September 1970, Mons. Lawani was ordained a Priest in August 2000 after completing his Priestly studies at Sts. Peter and Paul Major Seminary in Bodija in Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan.

As a Priest, the holder of a Master's degree in Divinity from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Chicago, Illinois (U.S.A.), has served as Assistant Parish Priest at St. Joseph in Osi; Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Ilorin; and Member of the College of Consultors of the Diocese of Ilorin;

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He has also served as the Parish Priest of St. Anthony in Fate; Parish Priest of St. Cyprian in Offa/Erin-Ile; Dean of the Ilorin Deanery; Parish Administrator of St. Joseph Cathedral in Ilorin; Parish Priest of St. Bartholomew in Kaiama; and Parish Priest of St. Anthony in Fate.

Outside the country, the Bishop-elect has served as the Vice-Pastor at Holy Angels in Chicago; and Parish Administrator at Holy Angels in Chicago.

Once installed, the native of Nigeria’s Benin City Archdiocese is expected to serve as the fifth Local Ordinary of the 32,500 square kilometer Catholic Diocese with an estimated population of 25,950 Catholics, according to 2021 statistics.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.