Yaoundé: New Papal Nuncio to strengthen ties between Cameroon and the Vatican 0

The President of the National Episcopal Conference Archbishop Andrew Nkea has welcomed the new Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop José Avelino Bettencourt at the Nsimalen International airport.

As Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop José Avelino Bettencourt will represent the Holy Father in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. The role is the equivalent to that of an ambassador.

His Grace Archbishop Andrew Nkea said best wishes and prayers to Archbishop José Avelino Bettencourt and expressed his hope that his appointment will strengthen relations between Yaoundé and Rome.

Reacting to the news, the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the Cameroon Concord News Group the Right Honorable Soter Agbaw-Ebai said the coming to Yaoundé of an experienced Roman Catholic cleric who has spent most of his working life in the diplomatic service of the Holy See is a very significant appointment for the life of the Church in Cameroon.

Relations between Cameroon and the Holy See have greatly improved in recent years as there is now a much better understanding of the shared interests including the importance of peace and stability in Anglophone Cameroon.

The Portuguese-Canadian prelate was born in Velas, Azores, on 23 May 1962.  He reportedly settled at a young age in Canada with his family and was ordained a priest in 1993 in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1999 and obtained a doctorate in canon law at Pontifical Gregorian University. He worked at the apostolic nunciature to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then moved to the Secretariat of State of the Holy See.

On 14 November 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him head of the protocol of the Secretariat of State. He was also responsible for contacts with the embassies accredited to the Holy See and to the central Vatican authority.

On 26 February 2018, Pope Francis gave him the title apostolic nuncio and appointed him Titular Archbishop of Aemona. He was named nuncio to Armenia on 1 March and to Georgia as well on 8 March. He received his Episcopal ordination from Pope Francis on 19 March.

On 30 August 2023, Pope Francis appointed him as Papal Nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.

By Toto Roland Motuba with files