US Born Prelate 1st Nuncio to Botswana

Philadelphia Native to Represent Pope

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GABORONE, Botswana, FEB. 8, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI named Archbishop James Patrick Green as apostolic nuncio to Botswana.

The Vatican press office reported Saturday that the archbishop will continue in his post as apostolic nuncio to South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.

In November, the Holy See and Botswana established diplomatic relations, bringing the number of nations with which the Vatican has relations to 173. Thus, Archbishop Green will be the first apostolic nuncio to the country of which he was already the apostolic delegate.

Since Aug. 17, 2006, the prelate, a 56-year-old native of Philadelphia, has been apostolic nuncio of South Africa and Namibia. In September 2006, he was also appointed apostolic nuncio to Swaziland.

Before this, Archbishop Green was an adviser in the general affairs section of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

He was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1976. After obtaining a licentiate in canon law, he entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1987. He has served in the papal representations of Papua New Guinea, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, the Scandinavian countries, China and within the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Botswana, located between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, is one of Africa's richest and most stable nations, though it has a high rate of HIV/AIDS infection and death.

The nation's approximately 1.5 million inhabitants are 70% Christian, though there are only around 84,000 Catholics, organized in two dioceses. They are served by 67 priests in 38 parishes, 121 religious and some 300 catechists.