On 13 January 2011, Benedict XVI appointed Mgr Girelli as apostolic nuncio to Singapore, as well as apostolic delegate to Malaysia and Brunei, and first non-resident representative to Vietnam. This appointment is the first concrete outcome of talks between Holy See and Vietnam, which have been going for a quite some time. In 2009, a joint Holy See-Vietnam group was set up to formalise negotiations.
On 19 April Mgr Girelli, the archbishop of Hanoi and other five prelates celebrated Chrism Mass. Mgr Girelli thanked his hosts for their warm welcome, expressing admiration for the country’s “dynamic and robust” religious life. He also urged priests to remain united with their bishops, and lead a religious existence “with a chaste spirit and a big heart”. He also reminded them that they do not live for themselves but for others.
State media did not report these Church-related events. Some reports did suggest that the faithful did not participate in the welcoming ceremony; however many of them were outside the Archbishop’s Residence, carrying banners that said, ‘Welcome the Holy See's Representatives to Hanoi,’ ‘The sheep need true shepherd’ and ‘The sheep need no rent-a-shepherd’.
The faithful reportedly presented a letter to Mgr Girelli whose contents are not known.