For the first time, a Nigerian Priest, Jude Thaddeus Okolo, has been appointed as the Vatican’s diplomatic representative of the Roman Catholic Church to Ireland by Pope Francis.
The sixty-year old archbishop is the first African priest to ever hold the diplomatic role (nuncio) in Ireland.
The archbishop is to take up the role during the summer and replace the out going apostolic nuncio to Ireland Charles Brown, who will finish his term in March and will now move to Albania to take up a new diplomatic post.
Welcoming the news, the Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin said “I warmly welcome the appointment by his Holiness Pope Francis of Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo as Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, and I wish him many blessings in his new role.”
“Archbishop Okolo’s rich experience in the diplomatic service of the Holy See means that he brings many gifts to bear on his new mission in Ireland. I pray that his time among us as the representative of the Holy Father will be blessed and fruitful.”
Archbishop Jude Okolo has formerly served as an apostolic nuncio to the Central African Republic and Chad in 2008, and as a Pope’s diplomatic representative to the Dominican Republic in 2013.
He also worked in the diplomatic service of the Holy See in Sri Lanka, before going on to be a pontifical representative in Haiti, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Australia and the Antillean Islands.
Archbishop Jude was born in Kano State on 18 December 1956, and ordained a priest on July 2, 1983.
He holds a doctorate in Canon law and speaks Igbo, English, French, Italian, Czech, Spanish and German.