Pope Francis received the credentials of Myla Grace Ragenia Macahilig, the new ambassador of the Philippines to the Holy See, on Saturday, November 20.
Photos posted on the Facebook page of Vatican News show Macahilig handing over a folder to Pope Francis in the Vatican.
“Pope Francis receives the credential letters of Ms. Myla Grace Ragenia Catalbas Macahilig, as she officially begins her role as the Ambassador of the Philippines to the Holy See,” read the caption of the photos.
In June, the Philippines’ Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Macahilig as the new ambassador to the Holy See.
Macahilig replaces Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa, who served the post from September 2018 until her retirement in January 2021.
The new envoy has been with the Department of Foreign Affairs for 23 years. She is currently the assistant secretary of the department’s financial management services.
Under her leadership, the office earned the Global Implementer Award for executing and utilizing an electronic budgeting system to its foreign service posts, the first for the Foreign Affairs office.
While she previously served in the Philippine embassies in New Zealand from 2002 to 2008 and in the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2018, the Vatican will be Macahilig’s first posting as ambassador.
She is also the second career diplomat to hold the position after Relucio-Princesa.
As envoy to the Holy See, Macahilig will have concurrent jurisdiction over the Sovereign Order of Malta.
During the hearing, she assured legislators that she will further strengthen the country’s relations with the Holy See.
She said one of the things that the country shares with the Holy See is the “appreciation, value and advocacy on interfaith dialogue and migration.”
On April 8, 1951, the Philippines and the Vatican signed a treaty establishing formal relations.