On Monday Pope Francis sent a letter to the President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy Archbishop Joseph Marino requesting that for the 2020-2021 academic year, all nuncios in training for the diplomatic staff of the Holy See complete a year of missionary service.

“At the conclusion of the work of the recent Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, I expressed my wish that priests who prepare for the diplomatic service of the Holy See dedicate a year of their formation to missionary commitment in a diocese.”

Pope Francis said the curriculum update will help nuncios-in-training “face positively these growing challenges for the Church and the world.”

“Future diplomats of the Holy See need to acquire … a personal experience of mission outside their own diocese of origin, sharing with the missionary Churches a period of journey together with their community, participating in their daily evangelizing activity.”

Pope Francis said he hopes the mandatory missionary experience will inspire other priests to do the same.

“The missionary experience that is to be promoted will be useful not only to young academics, but also to the individual Churches with which they will collaborate and, I hope, will inspire in other priests of the universal Church the desire to make themselves available for a period of missionary service outside their own diocese.”

The Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy trains priests from around the world to enter the diplomatic corps of the Holy See. In addition to studying theology and canon law at pontifical universities in Rome, they study languages, international diplomacy, and diplomatic history to prepare themselves for their position.

Read the full letter by Pope Francis here.

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