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New papal nuncio to Philippines: ‘Christian mission is to open oneself to God’s plan’

“It doesn’t matter what kind of vocation you have… God’s plan is working through you if you allow it to happen”

Archbishop Charles John Brown, the new papal nuncio to the Philippines, reminded the faithful to be always open to God’s plan.

The archbishop said the Christian mission today means facing new challenges with openness to God.

Speaking at the church of St. Anthony of Padua in Manila’s Malate district, Archbishop Brown said every Christian has a role to play in God’s plan.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of vocation you have… God’s plan is working through you if you allow it to happen,” he said in his first public homily since he arrived in the country last month.

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel, the archbishop spoke on the virtues of St. Joseph who put his whole trust in God— an example, he said, for all Christians to imitate.

He said St. Joseph obeyed God when he was faced with the difficult choice of protecting Mary as a mother. And the saint did it not as someone else but as a disciple, said Archbishop Brown.

“We need to have the courage and the trust of St Joseph. We need to imitate him in his obedience and then God’s plan works through us,” he said.

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“As we prepare for Christmas, let us be open to God’s plan in our life and then we will see miracles before us,” he said.

The new apostolic nuncio to the Philippines presented his letter of credence to the government on December 14.

The archbishop, who arrived in the country on November 29, will represent the Vatican State to the Philippine government.

He will also play a crucial role in representing the pope to the Catholic Church in the Philippines and in selecting new bishops.

The country currently has six vacant ecclesiastical territories including the Archdiocese of Manila, which was formerly served by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Brown as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on September 28. Prior to his new assignment, he was Apostolic Nuncio to Albania since March 2017.

He replaced Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, who now heads the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission in the United Nations in New York.

In many Catholic countries like the Philippines, the nuncio is also the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

Archbishop Brown, an American, joined the Holy See diplomatic service in 2011 after serving the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1994.

His first assignment was in Ireland where he served for six years.

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