Vatican en­voy on 1st visit


NORTH Cyprus’s Catholic com­mu­nity has wel­comed the re­gion’s Vatican am­bas­sador, who was vis­it­ing the coun­try for the first time. Pa­pal Nun­cio of the Holy See for Jerusalem, Pales­tine and Cyprus Mon­signor Leopoldo Girelli led Mass at the Church of St El­iz­a­beth of Hun­gary in Girne last Fri­day — aided by Vicar-Gen­eral of Latin Catholics for Ni­cosia Fa­ther George (Jerzy Kraj) and Everis­tus John Akaenyi — as part of his week-long visit. Trevor Jones, a chapel vol­un­teer who assisted with Mr Girelli’s visit, told Cyprus To­day: “The ser­vice went very well and [Mr Girelli] met mem­bers of the con­gre­ga­tion.

“Many mem­bers of the con­gre­ga­tion are from the Philip­pine com­mu­nity who work, and stu­dents, so many could not at­tend as it was a week­day. He promised on his next visit to come on a Sunday.”

Last Thurs­day Mr Girelli met UN spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive and head of the Un­fi­cyp peace­keep­ing force El­iz­a­beth Spe­har at the mis­sion’s head­quar­ters in the cap­i­tal, and met Greek Cypriot leader Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades at a for­mal cer­e­mony in the South’s Pres­i­den­tial Palace.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, Mr Girelli, ap­pointed last year as the eighth Apos­tolic Nun­cio to the is­land, con­veyed “the re­spect­ful and cor­dial greet­ings of His Ho­li­ness Pope Fran­cis” to Mr Anas­tasi­ades and “to all peo­ple of Cyprus”.

Fol­low­ing his Fri­day ser­vice in Girne, he con­ducted Holy Eucharist on Sunday at the Cathe­dral of Our Lady of Graces in South Ni­cosia, in which mem­bers of the Ma­ronite com­mu­nity liv­ing in Koruçam also took part.

Mr Girelli was ap­pointed by Pope Fran­cis in Septem­ber last year. He is also tit­u­lar arch­bishop of Capri, apos­tolic nun­cio in Sin­ga­pore, apos­tolic del­e­gate in Malaysia and Brunei, and non-res­i­dent pon­tif­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Viet­nam.

Arch­bishop Leopoldo Girelli, Pa­pal Nun­cio for Jerusalem, Pales­tine and Cyprus

Prepa­ra­tions for the Mass — the Arch­bishop over­sees, aided by Fa­ther George (right) and al­tar boy Everis­tus John Akaenyi. Right, Mon­signor Leopoldo Girelli ad­dresses the con­gre­ga­tion. Photos: Brian Joyce

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