Monsignor Alfred Xuereb will take up his role as an archbishop in South Korea on March 19 and is expected will play an active role in peace building initiatives in the region.
Monsignor Marco Sprizzi, the Acting Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, said the recent appointment of Monsignor Xuereb by Pope Francis bodes well for inter-Korean reconciliation.
“Monsignor Xuereb is one of the closest allies of Pope Francis and reads the pope’s thinking very well,” said Monsignor Sprizzi.
“As the pope continually shows his concern for the reconciliation of the two Koreas and [prays for] peace on the Korean Peninsula, the new nuncio will play an active role in bridging the gap between the two Koreas and working for peace in the region.”
The Maltese prelate is due to arrive in Seoul shortly after he is consecrated on March 19.
The news comes as the two Koreas agreed on March 6 to hold a joint summit in April and to establish a telephone hotline between their leaders.
Born on Oct. 14, 1958, Monsignor Xuereb was ordained as a priest in 1984 and studied at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome, where he earned a PhD in theology, specializing in spirituality.
He later served as secretary to the rector of the Pontifical Lateran University from 1991 to 1995 before beginning his career with the Secretariat of State in the Roman Curia.
From December 2007 to March 2013 he served as the second private secretary of retired Pope Benedict XVI.
After the election of Pope Francis, Monsignor Xuereb became his first secretary. Since March 2014 he has served as the first prelate secretary of the Secretariat for the Economy.