Pope Francis has introduced a year of missionary experience into the curriculum of those preparing to enter service in the Holy See’s diplomatic corps.
The Pope had foreseen this change in his final speech at the Synod on the Amazon, and now it has become a reality.
In a letter to Archbishop Joseph Marino, the new President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy – which trains nuncios for the Vatican’s diplomatic staff – Pope Francis requests an addition to the curriculum: one year spent on mission within a local Church. The letter is dated 11 February 2020.
The Holy Father expressed his “desire that priests preparing for the diplomatic service of the Holy See devote a year of their training to missionary service in a diocese.”
I am certain,” concludes Pope Francis, “that – once the initial concerns that may arise in the face of this new style of formation for future diplomats of the Holy See have been overcome – the missionary experience offered will be useful not only to young academics but also to the individual Churches with which they will work. And I hope it will encourage with other priests of the universal Church the desire to make themselves available to carry out a period of missionary service outside their own diocese.