ORDAINED. The fifth Filipino apostolic nuncio, Arnaldo Catalan (center) was ordained to the episcopate in his native Archdiocese of Manila on Friday (Feb. 11, 2022).  In a ceremony performed in the Manila Cathedral, Catalan was elevated to the archbishop and given the titular see of Apollonia. (Photo courtesy of Manila Cathedral)

MANILA – Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Vatican's prefect for the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples, led the ordination to the episcopate of the fifth Filipino apostolic nuncio Arnaldo Catalan on Friday.

Catalan will be serving as the Holy See's representative to Rwanda.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website reported that the consecration, in time for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, was held at the Archdiocese of Manila.

He was elevated to the rank of archbishop and given the titular see of Apollonia in a ceremony held at the Manila Cathedral.

Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula and Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines acted as co-consecrators.

In his homily, Tagle told Catalan to let every activity and moment in his ministry “be the hour of Jesus.”

“And in God’s hour, may the people, especially in Rwanda, see the mercy of the Lord and they themselves will say we will not be discouraged, we will not give up,” he said.

Catalan, 55, meanwhile described his appointment as a “surprise” and “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 a loss of words to thank Him,” he said.

Rwanda is part of the mission territories Tagle’s dicastery oversees.

Other bishops also attended the church event, among them Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, the archbishop emeritus of Manila, and Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, the archbishop emeritus of Cotabato.

Catalan is the first priest of the Manila archdiocese to become a Vatican ambassador.

On January 31, Pope Francis appointed him as his representative to the nation in East Africa.

Catalan can speak English, Italian, and Spanish.

Before his appointment, he had been serving as the chargé d’affaires of the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Taiwan since 2019. (PNA)