By Christopher Wells (Vatican news)

More than one hundred pontifical representatives – Apostolic Nuncios and Permanent Observers – met with Pope Francis on Thursday in the Vatican. The Holy Father convened similar Meetings of Pontifical Representatives in 2013 and 2016, and has expressed his desire that the triennial gatherings should continue in the future.

At the meeting in the Clementine Hall, Pope Francis elected to engage in a dialogue with the papal representatives rather than deliver a planned discourse. The text of the address, which he described as a “meditation… on the role of the nuncio,” was handed to the nuncios and permanent observers for further reflection.

Man of God and man of the Church
In the prepared remarks, the Holy Father offers papal representatives a kind of “Decalogue” of ten qualities that characterize a nuncio. The nuncio, he says, is a man of God, following God in all things; and a man of the Church. A nuncio does not represent himself, but the Church, and especially the Pope. He makes present and symbolizes the Holy Father, serving as a bridge connecting the Vicar of Christ and the people to whom he is sent.

Pope Francis says that the nuncio is a man of apostolic zeal, with “the duty of illuminating the world with the light of the Risen One, of bringing Christ to the ends of the earth”. At the same time, he must be a man “of mediation, of communion, of dialogue, and of reconciliation”, who must be impartial, seeking only justice and peace.

The nuncio must also be a man of initiative, able to recognize and meet the challenges of the present moment, avoiding both rigidity, and “hypocritical and chameleon-like flexibility”. Pope Francis says that the nuncio is also a man of obedience which, for a Christian and a nuncio, refers to “the call to follow the style of life of Jesus of Nazareth”.

A nuncio’s life must also be marked by prayer, the Pope says, which brings true “familiarity with Jesus,” Whom he is called “to communicate, to proclaim, to represent.” Pope Francis then reminds the papal representatives that “prayer, the path of discipleship, and conversion find in charity that is shared the verification of their evangelical authenticity.”

A Litany of Humility
Pope Francis concludes his “decalogue” for nuncios “with the virtue of humility,” sharing with the nuncios and permanent observers the “Litany of Humility” composed by Servant of God, Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val, a former Secretary of State under St Pius X.

Click here to read that litany and to see a slide show of the papal meeting with nuncios:  https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-06/pope-meets-with-papal-representatives.html

(JFL: Taking part in the meeting are the 103 Pontifical Representatives, of whom 98 are Apostolic Nuncios (papal ambassadors) and 5 are Permanent Observers. On the final day, June 15, another 46 retired Apostolic Nuncios have also been invited.


Pope Francis this morning welcomed members of the Council of the International Skating Union to the Vatican and, in brief remarks, noted that, “the aim of your Union is not only to promote ice skating worldwide, but above all to allow more and more people to experience the beauty of this sport. All sports are in fact a cause and an expression of joy: “the joy of exercising, of being together, of being alive and rejoicing in the gifts the Creator gives us each day”

Francis noted that, “this is true in a particular way for those who skate. Skating offers an exhilarating experience of life and freedom of movement, together with training in discipline, teamwork and the pursuit of personal excellence.

“Traditionally, the Pope added, “skating has also been an inclusive sport, erasing social barriers and open to people of every age. I would encourage your efforts to ensure that the joy of skating will also mark even highly competitive events.”

The Holy Father encouraged the union, saying “the values of respect, courage, altruism, balance and self-control learned in sport are a precious preparation for success in running the race of life. Sport, in a word, is always meant to be at the service of humanity. … May God bless you and your work!”