|Archbishop Marek Zalewski has been appointed as Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam.__Photo: Vietnam Episcopal Council
Archbishop Marek Zalewski has been appointed by Pope Francis as the first Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam, the Holy See announced on December 23.
The archbishop, entering the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1995, has worked in many countries. He was appointed the Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore and the non-resident Papal Representative in Vietnam in 2018.
While serving as the non-resident Papal Representative in Vietnam, he visited and conducted pastoral activities in almost all dioceses of the Catholic Church in Vietnam, and also met with representatives of ministries, sectors and administrations of localities nationwide.
Vietnam and the Holy See have recorded progress in bilateral relations, especially since they set up the regular dialogue mechanism of their Joint Working Group in 2009. Many meetings and discussions between Vietnamese leaders and the Holy See have since taken place, most recently the meeting between Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong and Pope Francis in 2023.
Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis used to send allocutions and messages to the Catholic Church in Vietnam, stressing the spirit of living as “good Christians and good citizens” and encouraging Catholics to lead a good secular and religious life and actively contribute local and national socio-economic development.
In particular, the two sides basically agreed on the Status of the Resident Papal Representative and the Office of the Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam at the 10th session of the Joint Working Group between Vietnam and the Holy See in March 2023. This status was adopted during President Thuong’s visit to the Holy See in July 2023.
The moves marked an important stride in bilateral relations and came as a result of a process of active opinion exchanges in the spirit of mutual respect, cooperation, and understanding. They also reflect the Vietnamese State’s consistent policy of respecting and ensuring the right to freedom of religion and belief, and creating favorable conditions for activities of religions.
The appointment of Archbishop Marek Zalewski as the first Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam is expected to help promote the connections between the Holy See and the Catholic Church in Vietnam, as well as opinion exchanges between Vietnam and the Holy See.-(VNA/VLLF)