Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - Archbishop
Pietro Parolin was today appointed Secretary of State by Pope Francis. He succeeds Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who will
remain in office until 15 October.
In a statement released at noon, the new Secretary of State speaks of " unmerited trust" placed in him by Pope Francis, to whom he expresses "my willingness and complete availability to work with him and under his guidance for the greater glory of God, the good of the Holy Church, and the progress and peace of humanity, that humanity might find reasons to live and to hope. "
"I feel very strongly the grace of this call - he adds - which is yet another and the latest of God's surprises in my life. Above all, I feel the full weight of the responsibility placed upon me: this call entrusts to me a difficult and challenging mission, before which my powers are weak and my abilities poor. For this reason, I entrust myself to the merciful love of the Lord, from whom nothing and no one can ever separate me, and to the prayers of all. I thank all those who have shown and who, starting now, will show me understanding, as well as for any and all manner of help that anyone might desire to offer me in my new undertaking. "
A native of Veneto, Msgr. Parolin was born in Schiavon (Vicenza ) January 17, 1955 . His was an agricultural machinery salesman, his mother a teacher and he had a brother and a sister. His father died when he was ten years old.
He entered the seminary and was ordained on April 27, 1980 . Having graduated in Canon Law in 1986, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See . His first missions took him to Nigeria , where experienced first hand the difficulties of relations with Muslims , and later to Mexico.
He returned to the Secretary of State on 30 November 2002 on being appointed Under-Secretary for Relations with States. He remained in this role until August 17 , 2009, when he was appointed nuncio to Venezuela
A period that he recalls in his statement today. "My thoughts - he writes - go to my family and to all the persons who have been part of my life: in the parishes into which I was born and in which I served; in the dear Diocese of Vicenza; at Rome; in the countries in which I have worked - from Nigeria, to Mexico, and most recently in Venezuela, which I am sorry to leave. I think also of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, who ordained me bishop, I think of the Secretariat of State, which was my home for many years, of His Eminence, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, of the other Superiors, colleagues and collaborators and of the whole Roman Curia, as well as of all those who represent the Holy Father and the Holy See diplomatically around the world. I owe a great debt to all".
Those years also saw him undertake a number of missions to Vietnam (pictured) , in order to improve the situation of religious freedom in the country and to explore the possibility of creating diplomatic relations. This work resulted in the establishment of the Joint Working Group, which, laboriously, continues in its mission.
An open and welcoming man described as a good listener, in his statement Msgr. Parolin speaks of "trepidation", but also " confidence and peace of mind " with which he places himself "in this new service to the Gospel, to the Church and to Pope Francis, but also with trust and serenity - disposed - as the Holy Father asked us at the beginning - to walk, to build and to profess".
"May our Lady, whom I like to invoke under her titles as Our Lady of Monte Berico, Guadalupe and Coromoto, give us, "The courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord's Cross; to build the Church on the Lord's blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward."
" And , as they say in Venezuela : " ¡Que Dios les bendiga . " ( FP )