By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Saturday appointed a new man to head the Vatican’s office that is charged with the process of beatification and canonization of candidates to sainthood.
The Pope appointed 69-year old Italian Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He will assume his post at the end of August.
In the meantime, he will continue as Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State until June 29, and as special delegate to the Sovereign Order of Malta, popularly known as the Knights of Malta.
Archbishop Becciu who is among the 14 new cardinals that Pope Francis will create on June 29, succeeds 79-year old Italian Cardinal Angelo Amato who is well past the retirement age of 75. Cardinal Amato has been heading the Congregation since 2008.
Arhbishop Becciu was born in Pattada on June 2, 1948. After graduating in Canon Law he was ordained a priest of Ozieri Diocese on August 27, 1972.
He was inducted into the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1984, and worked for many years in various missions around the world, including in the Central African Republic, New Zealand, Liberia, the United Kingdom, France and the United States.
On October 15, 2001, Saint Pope John Paul II appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to Angola and a month later also Nuncio to São Tomé and Príncipe. On December 1, that year, he was consecrated bishop in Pattada. On July 23, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI transferred him to the Apostolic Nunciature of Cuba, from where he was recalled to the Vatican to serve as the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. New-elected pontiff, Pope Francis confirmed him in the post in 2013.
On February 2, 2017, the Pope appointed him special delegate to the Knights of Malta to resolve the crisis in the order.