Pope Francis has officially met with new Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See, Myla Grace Ragenia Macahilig. She presented her credential letters at the Vatican on Saturday.
In a series of photos tweeted by the Vatican News, the meeting with the pope is the “official” beginning of Macahilig’s new diplomatic role.
The 55-year-old replaced Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa, who served the post from September 2018 until her retirement in January 2021. (Read: Meet 3 Filipinos Who Work in the Vatican)
Who is she?
Macahilig is a former Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary in its financial management services.
She previously served in the Philippine embassies in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. However, this assignment to the Vatican was her first posting as Ambassador with concurrent jurisdiction over the Sovereign Order of Malta.
Formal relations of the Philippines and the Vatican was established by a signed agreement on April 8, 1951.
The treaty raised the Holy See’s Apostolic Delegation to the Philippines to the status of Apostolic Nunciature. Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi became the first Apostolic Nuncio, having been appointed the following day, April 9, 1951. The first Philippine ambassador was Manuel Moran, who presented his credentials to Pope Pius XII on June 4, 1951.
During the past 70 years, there have been four papal visits to the Philippines: the 1970 visit by Pope Paul VI, the visits of 1981 and 1995 by Pope John Paul II, and Pope Francis’ visit in 2015. (Read: CBCP formally invites Pope Francis to visit the Philippines in 2021)
The 70th anniversary takes place as the Church celebrates 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.