Bishop Abet Uy, who leads the Catholic Church in Bohol, believes that fellow Boholano cleric Archbishop Bernardito “Barney” Auza is on his way to becoming a cardinal, one of the Church’s most senior officials.
Uy issued the statement after Auza, 60, was named by Pope Francis as the Apostolic Nuncio to Spain on Tuesday night, replacing Italian Archbishop Renzo Fratini.
“I have no doubt he will become Cardinal in the near future. He is very qualified. So, let us pray for Archbishop Barney, for his health and wellbeing,” said Uy.
Uy deemed Auza’s new post as one of the most important offices of the Catholic Church throughout Europe. Prior to his reassignment, Auza was the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York since 2014.
“The Apostolic Nunciature to the Kingdom of Spain is one of the most prestigious ecclesiastical office of the Catholic Church in all of Europe. So, this is a very prestigious assignment,” Uy said.
“Every Boholano should be happy and proud that our very own paisano Archbishop Bernardito Auza is now the New Apostolic Nuncio to Spain,” he added.
Apostolic Nuncios serve as ambassadors of the Holy See, or the Vatican city state.
Auza’s appointment in Spain came less than two years before the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines through the Spanish missionaries.
According to Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, it is “very significant and meaningful” that the new papal envoy to Spain will be a Filipino.
“On the forthcoming grace-filled event of 500 years of Christianization of our country, the Philippine Church gives her gift and gratitude in the person of Archbishop Auza,” he said in a statement released by the CBCP.
“It is indeed a call for us to celebrate with gratitude and with deep appreciation our 500 years of Christianization,” Santos added.
Auza who was born to Meliton and Magdalena Auza in Talibon on June 10, 1959 was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Tagbilaran in 1985. He was incardinated to the then newly-formed Diocese of Talibon in 1986.
In 1990, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See. His first assignment was in Madagascar and South Indian Ocean from 1990 to 1993 and was a member of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the U.N. before assuming his post in Haiti in 2008.
Auza also served in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican, after his assignment to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Bulgaria and Albania. (R. Tutas)