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The bridge-maker

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu (centre), the main celebrant at the July 15 closing Mass at Jesus Explosion XVI. Photo: Elmo Griffith

It’s almost a year since Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu was appointed as the pope’s representative for the Antilles Episcopal Conference. Catholic News Writer/Copy Editor Simone Delochan had a one-on-one interview with His Grace earlier this year to find out more about this learned man of the cloth.

Many would already know that an apostolic nuncio is the pope’s representative but beyond that, there is little knowledge on what is actually executed by a nuncio.Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu describes it succinctly as being a bridge-maker, the essential role of the pope himself. The word ‘pontiff’ is derived from two Latin words, pons and facere which mean ‘bridge-maker’.

“First and foremost,” said His Grace, “the pope is the bridge-maker. Vertically, he is the successor of Peter, who is the bridge with Jesus. He has vertical authority. He is also a horizontal bridge-maker between all the bishops. He is the first among bishops; he is the bridge between all the bishops.” As the pope cannot be physically present to all his people, the nuncio enacts this role.

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