The bishops, priests, and religious of Sri Lanka celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving Dec. 2 to show appreciation for their former apostolic nuncio, who has been appointed nuncio to Ivory Coast.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo and president of the Sri
Lankan bishops' conference, thanked Archbishop Joseph Spiteri for his
valuable contributions to the Catholics of Sri Lanka, where he had been
apostolic nuncio since February 2009.
Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Spiteri as nuncio to Ivory Coast Oct. 1.
While posted to Sri Lanka, Archbishop Spiteri was instrumental in
influencing the peace building process following a nearly 30-year civil
war, with his continual pastoral visits to areas of re-settlement and
The Mass of thanksgiving was said at All Saints' parish in Borella, a suburb of Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital.
Archbishop Spiteri in his turn thanked Sri Lankan Catholics for the help
they had shown him, and for their cooperation and assistance with the
apostolic mission entrusted him by the Holy See.
He said he was impressed with the pastoral activities throughout Sri
Lanka, and the contribution of the Church to the “development and
progress” of the country where Catholics make up about six percent of
Archbishop Spiteri was born in the Maltese town of Sliema in 1959, and
was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Malta in 1984.
He holds a degree in canon law, and after being recruited for the Holy
See's diplomatic corps, he served in the nunciatures to Panama, Iraq,
Mexico, Portugal, Greece, and Venezuela.
He was appointed apostolic nuncio to Sri Lanka while working in the
Secretariat of State's office, and was consecrated a bishop in May 2009.
Archbishop Spiteri's role as nuncio to Ivory Coast fills the void
created by the death of Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, who was killed in a
car accident in Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan last December.