Top Catholic Church officials thank service of outgoing Papal Nuncio

MANILA-- Two top officials of the Roman Catholic Church in the country have expressed gratitude to outgoing Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, who is set to leave next week following his transfer of assignment to Croatia.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle thanked the 65-year old Vatican Representative, who has been in the country for six years.

"Thank you very much for these memories. Thank you very much for your trust and confidence and wherever you are know that you have a home here in the Philippines and you will always have a home in our hearts, he said during his message at the send off gathering for Pinto held at the Pope Pius XVI Center in Manila Monday evening.

Outgoing Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Socrates Villegas also has good words to say to Pinto.

When he came to us six years ago, we saw in him the face of peter, the successor of Peter. Peter, the prince of the apostles who has sent to us a person like Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, he said.

But over and beyond the face of Peter, and beyond the face of Joseph, our brother, Archbishop Pinto has become the face of Jesus for us. We saw that very clearly at the height of Yolanda. He showed us the face of the Lord, which is mercy and compassion. It was during his term that we were honored and blessed with the visit of Pope Francis. Pope Francis, like Archbishop Pinto has shown us the face of Jesus, God of compassion, God of mercy, added the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate.

At the same time, Villegas asked Pinto to carry the love from Filipinos as he embarks on his new journey.

As you move on to Croatia, please carry our love and I know as you have been a blessing for Philippines, you will be a blessing everywhere you go. God be with you. Please pray for us, he added.

Early last month, the Vatican has announced that Pinto has been assigned to a country in Eastern Europe.

The Italian Archbishop has been serving as Nuncio to the Philippines since July 2011.

He was appointed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, as the 10th Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

The archbishop's new post in Croatia will be his 7th assignment as papal ambassador ever since he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1984.

Pinto holds a doctorate in Canon Law and is fluent in Italian, French, English, and Spanish.

The Vatican has yet to appoint Pinto's replacement.

Source: Philippine News Agency