Catholic Church

First Manileño papal nuncio ordained as archbishop

Jairo Bolledo
First Manileño papal nuncio ordained as archbishop

NEW ARCHBISHOP. Portrait of Archbishop Arnaldo Catalan, Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda.

Manila Cathedral

Archbishop Arnaldo Catalan is the Archdiocese of Manila’s ‘gift to the Church,’ says Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula

MANILA, Philippines – The first apostolic nuncio from the Archdiocese of Manila was ordained as archbishop on Friday, February 11.

On Friday, Archbishop Arnaldo Catalan received his episcopal ordination following his appointment as the new Aposotlic Nuncio to Rwanda and elected Titular Archbishop of Apollonia. Catalan is the first priest from Manila to obtain such rank in 443 years, said Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula. 

Catalan’s ordination was led by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, the Vatican’s Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Advincula and Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles John Brown were also present during the consecration. 

In his message, the Manila archbishop referred to Catalan as the Archdiocese of Manila’s gift to the Church. 

“You [Catalan] are our gift to the Church. In your mission, as an official representative of the Holy Father, enrich the diplomatic service with the wealth of our Filipino spirit. Wherever you are sent, bring with you the Filipino faith, the Filipino warmth, the Filipino hospitality, the Filipino personalism, the Filipino joy, and the Filipino smile,” Advincula said. 

In his message, Catalan said he would use Saint Paul as his inspiration for his new assignment as Pope Francis’ envoy to Rwanda. 

“Like all surprises, this nomination is a gift that is totally gratuitous and unmerited, but it is also quite a demanding task. Truly, God did not meet my expectations; he exceeded them. So much that I am at the loss of words to thank Him,” Catalan said.

“So I take Saint Paul’s appreciation of his own ministry, as a motto and as a pledge of gratitude. That since I have this ministry, only through the mercy shown me I am not discouraged,” he added.

Catalan is the fifth Filipino priest to be appointed as a papal nuncio. 

The most prominent among the Filipino Vatican envoys is Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza, who used to be the Holy See’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Other Filipino nuncios include brothers Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla and Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, and Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana. 

Episcopal ordination  

During the consecration, Catalan was asked and responded to the “nine promises,” which are the vows that he would keep as a new archbishop.

The Manila Cathedral also released the design of Catalan’s coat of arms, which would serve as a symbol and identity of the new archbishop. 

In Catalan’s coat of arms, one of the dominant details is the white star, which symbolizes the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of the Philippines as declared by Pope Pius XII in 1942. –

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.