The newly appointed Vatican Ambassador to Zambia and Malawi, Archbishop Gian Luca Perici, has arrived in Lusaka to commence his diplomatic assignment. His arrival was greeted with enthusiasm and warmth from the Catholic community and religious leaders as he takes up this crucial role in fostering relations between the Vatican and Zambia.
Archbishop Perici’s appointment by Pope Francis in June was met with anticipation, and his presence in Zambia marks a significant moment in the diplomatic relationship between the Holy See and the southern African nation. He succeeds Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone, who was earlier reassigned to Uruguay in a similar capacity earlier this year.
Upon his arrival at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Archbishop Perici was warmly received by prominent figures in the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), including President Archbishop Ignatius and Archbishop Emeritus Telesphore George Mpundu, as well as Bishop Clement Mulenga of Kabwe. Numerous priests, members of religious orders, and Catholic faithful also extended their greetings and best wishes.
Expressing his gratitude for the warm reception, Archbishop Perici remarked, “I would like to thank each and every one of you for your presence here. It is my first time to be welcomed in this manner, and because it is the first time I am appointed as Nuncio. I have worked before as Secretary in the Nunciature, but this is my first time to be appointed as Nuncio.”
Through an interpreter, Archbishop Perici pledged his unwavering allegiance to Pope Francis and underscored his commitment to the Pope’s vision. He stated, “I hope that this is not the last time we are meeting, and you are always welcome in this house; it is your house, the house of the Holy Father (Pope). And we all know how Pope Francis is; he is a man who welcomes everyone, and his wish is to see that all the Nunciatures worldwide operate in the same manner, to be open to everyone. I would like to be obedient to Pope Francis, to put into practice his words and Church’s magisterium.”
As part of his diplomatic duties, Archbishop Perici is scheduled to meet with President Hakainde Hichilema at the State House to present his letter of credence, further solidifying the diplomatic ties between the Vatican and Zambia.