Official, new building for Apostolic Nunciature
KUALA LUMPUR — 23 November will go down in the Malaysian Catholic Church’s history as a red-letter day. That day saw Catholic prelates in Malaysia and Brunei, clergy and religious, lay notables, diplomats, members of the Parliament, State Assemblymen and guests witnessing the historic inauguration of the new Papal Nunciature at Jalan Ampang Hilir in the Federal capital.
Archbishop Joseph Marino in his welcome address extended his sincere heartfelt welcome to one and all for the official opening of the residence and chancery. He expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian government which offered much attention and assistance in the entire process of setting up the Nunciature in Kuala Lumpur, adding that “a particular recognition to the various officials of the Foreign Minister whose professionalism and expertise were of valuable help to our Mission”.
Archbishop Marino, the first Nuncio to Malaysia was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on 16 January 2013. He also serves as Nuncio to East Timor and Apostolic Delegate to Brunei.
Malaysia is the 179th state to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
Archbishop Marino thanked Archbishop Becciu for the personal interest that he gave to the entire endeavour along with the encouragement of all the Superiors of the Secretariat of State of the Pope since the very beginning of his time in Kuala Lumpur.
The Vatican Nuncio also expressed his gratitude to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei which also manifested its support for the work of the Holy See to which they are bond in unity and fraternity.
The Nuncio hoped that the excellent relations between both sides would continue to grow.
Present at the event was Deputy Foreign Minister Dato’ Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who represented the Government. In his address, he said Malaysia took a positive step in establishing diplomatic relations six years ago and since then Malaysia-Holy See ties have witnessed a positive trajectory, based on mutual respect and understanding, and underlined by common desire to promote global peace and security.
The opening of a permanent site for the Apostolic Nunciature lends further effort to elevate Malaysia-Holy See relations to greater heights, said the Deputy Minister.
In his address, Archbishop Becciu said the Nunciature symbolises the friendly ties between Malaysia and the Holy See.
“The Nunciature is a sign of the Holy See’s international mission and its solicitude for the Catholic community in this nation, as well as for the good of all the Malaysian people,” he said.
An Apostolic Nunciature, he said, can be thought of as a kind of conduit as it allows the cares, concerns and needs of the local Churches and communities to be shared with the Pope, and in turn allows his pastoral concern for all parts of the world to find effective expression.
He said this inauguration ceremony was a reminder that physical structures and legal frameworks are important and necessary components in the work of diplomacy.
Archbishop Becciu said, “The inauguration of this new Nunciature and the desire of Malaysia and the Holy See to deepen the friendly ties we enjoy, are signs of our shared goal which is to construct a more fraternal world where concord, justice and peace can flourish”.
He also acknowledged the work of Archbishop Marino, the first Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia, his staff and Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Malaysia’s first resident Ambassador to the Holy See, who played an important role in the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2011 – the year that saw the significant visit of the Prime Minister to His Holiness Benedict XVI.
He added that it was an honour for him to be present at this auspicious moment in relations between Malaysia and the Holy See and to renew the prayerful good wishes of Pope Francis that all will find there in “Peter’s house”, a friendly welcome and words of encouragement.
The flag of the Holy See was hoisted in the garden of the Apostolic Nunciature for the first time.
On 24 November, the Oratory (the chapel) at the Apostolic Nunciature in Malaysia was officially blessed and opened by Archbishop Angelo Becciu.
“The chapel we dedicate today is Peter’s house; it symbolises your unity and that of your local Churches with the Holy Father, whose ministry as the successor of Peter makes him the visible foundation and principle of the Church’s unity in faith: Petrus, ibi Ecclesia,” said Archbishop Becciu in his homily.
Today’s Catholic Vol.29 No.12 December 2017