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Gibraltar’s Monsignor Mark Miles named Papal ambassador to Benin and elevated to Archbishop

Archive image of former US President Barack Obama during his 2014 meeting with Pope Francis, as Monsignor Mark Miles (pictured right) looks on. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Gibraltar’s Monsignor Mark Miles has been appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of Benin by Pope Francis, who at the same time has elevated the Gibraltarian to the titular see of civitatis ducalis with dignity of Archbishop.

With the appointment, Archbishop-elect Miles in effect becomes the papal ambassador to the West African country, the first Gibraltarian priest to hold such a senior diplomatic role and to be ordained an Archbishop.

“I am honoured and humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in appointing me to be his representative to the Republic of Benin,” he said.

“My gratitude goes out to my beloved family, thinking of my late parents William and Mary Miles, and to all my friends and loved ones who have supported me on life’s journey and have helped me on the path of faith and vocation.”

“I thank my brother priests of the diocese of Gibraltar and especially bishops past and present who have, in different ways, been fatherly towards me.”

“I extend deep gratitude to everyone in Gibraltar, a community distinguished by tolerance, warmth and unique hospitality.”

“Finally, I commend this ministry to the intercession of Our Lady of Europe and to the prayers of the Saints close to my heart so that I may give honour to God and fulfil the work he has entrusted to me.”

Archbishop-elect Miles was born in Gibraltar in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1996 and incardinated into the Diocese of Gibraltar.

With a doctorate in Canon Law and a licence in Theology, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 2003 and worked in political representations in Ecuador and Hungary, and in the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

Fluent in English, Spanish and Italian, and with a working knowledge of French, he routinely acted as translator for Pope Francis during his visits to countries around the globe.

Most recently, Archbishop-elect Miles was the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States.

Reacting to the news, Gibraltar’s Bishop Carmel Zammit said he was “delighted” both for Archbishop-elect Miles and for the Church in Gibraltar.

“I have no doubt that Mgr Mark will be supported by the prayers of all of us in Gibraltar in this important ministry he will be undertaking on behalf of the Holy Father as his diplomatic representative in the Republic of Benin,” Bishop Zammit said.

“The Diocese of Gibraltar wishes him many years of faithful and rewarding service in the Church.”
“All the clergy and the community congratulate Mgr Miles on this appointment and also congratulate his family.”

Details of the date and ceremony of Episcopal Ordination will be announced shortly.

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