ArchbishopApostolic Nuncio Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu was warmly received last Monday when he was introduced at the Cathedral at a Mass to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin.
Smiling as he delivered remarks to the congregation, the new nuncio said he came “with the love of God” and as the voice of the Roman Pontiff would continue “building bridges”.
He first thanked Archbishop Jason Gordon for the opportunity to greet the people of God. “I salute you and I salute the entire clergy of this archdiocese. I wish also to salute your predecessor who is here with us Bishop Joseph: Happy Feast Day, Excellency. I also salute His Excellency Bishop Malcolm.”
Archbishop Nwachukwu was surprised to be invited to the celebration because “it was not planned”. He commented, “We know that for those who believe, there are no coincidences—everything is divine providence. That is what St Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans Chapter 8 vs 28…those who love God everything works out to good.”
He was supposed to arrive in T&T on Sunday but due to a delay with a connecting flight arrived last Monday. Taking it all in stride, he noted his arrival on the Feast day of St Joseph, the celebration of the late Archbishop Pantin, “a big figure of this archdiocese” and the inauguration of President Paula-Mae Weekes.
The Vatican was, on that day, celebrating the fifth anniversary of the pontificate of Pope Francis. “So many things are coming together and I am glad therefore to be here among you,” Archbishop Nwachukwu said.
Speaking to members of the diplomatic corps in attendance, he said he hoped to work collaboratively. To the question ‘Who are you?’, Archbishop Nwachukwu stated: “The Apostolic Nuncio is only a voice. I am the voice of the Roman Pontiff, of the Holy Father, and as a voice of Roman Pontiff my function is also pontifical.”
He said his role was to continue the work of Pope Francis, “building bridges between the various churches in the world, building bridges of peace between peoples in the world, building bridges of understanding and agreements all across the globe.”
The 58-year-old archbishop who was born in Nigeria, gave an overview of his background and experience which took him from his homeland to several countries. His recent posting was apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua.
He closed with quotes from the psalms he loved—Psalm 118 vs 24, “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad” and Psalm 122 vs 1, “I rejoiced when I heard them say let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Archbishop Nwachukwu was applauded as he ended, “I rejoiced when I heard them say let us go to Trinidad and Tobago.” – LPG