IMAGE: CNS photo/Giampiero Sposito, Reuters
By Katie Scott
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis named two longtime
Vatican officials as apostolic nuncios and elevated both to the rank of
The Vatican announced Feb. 26 that the pope named Msgr.
Alfred Xuereb, general secretary of the Secretariat for the Economy, as nuncio
to South Korea and Mongolia.
The pope also named the Vatican’s head of protocol, Msgr.
Jose Bettencourt — a priest of the Archdiocese of Ottawa — as an apostolic
nuncio. Two days later, the Vatican announced that he was appointed as nuncio
Archbishop-designate Xuereb, who was born in Gozo, Malta,
Oct. 14, 1958, worked in the general affairs section of the Vatican Secretariat
of State in 1995 before moving to the Prefecture of the Papal Household in
He had served as assistant personal secretary to Pope
Benedict XVI and continued as Pope Francis’ secretary when the new pope was
elected in March 2013.
Before naming him to the Secretariat for the Economy in
March 2014, Pope Francis appointed the Maltese prelate as his personal delegate
to the commissions reviewing the activity and mission of the Institute for the
Works of Religion — commonly called the Vatican bank — and the commission
that was studying the economic and administrative structures of the Holy See.
Archbishop-designate Bettencourt has served in the Vatican’s
Secretariat of State since 2002.
Born in 1962 in Velas, Azores, Portugal, as a child he moved
to Ottawa, where he attended both elementary and secondary school. He graduated
from the University of Ottawa before pursuing theological studies at Dominican
College and St. Paul University, where he studied for the priesthood. He was
ordained for the Archdiocese of Ottawa in 1993.
As the Holy See’s head of protocol, Archbishop-designate
Bettencourt oversees the details of tradition and decorum in the Vatican’s
diplomatic relations with other states, from welcoming visiting heads of state
at the airport to dealings with diplomats and ambassadors accredited to the
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