Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò
Dear Archbishop Viganò,
On behalf of the bishops of the United States of America, I take the occasion of this correspondence to welcome you warmly to our nation as Apostolic Nuncio of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, and to offer you the prayerful support of your brother bishops as you begin your important mission.
At the beginning of his Apostolic Journey to the United States in April 2008, the Holy Father remarked during a welcoming ceremony at the White House, “America’s Catholics have made, and continue to make, an excellent contribution to the life of their country. As I begin my visit, I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens.”
As the personal representative of our Holy Father, you will serve as a continuing sign to us of that source of renewal and hope that Pope Benedict brought to our country. Your almost four decades of service in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See in Iraq, Great Britain and the Secretariat of State give you a depth of understanding of the role of the Church in a pluralistic society. We also know from meetings with you in Rome that you have a special appreciation of the United States of America, which we hold dear. We will benefit from your training in both canon law and civil law. They will enable you to see the intricacies involved in representing the Holy Father in both the Church and diplomatic worlds, especially now as they are lived out in America’s democratic society.
The bishops of the United States recognize in your appointment yet another sign of the great solicitude with which our Holy Father holds our nation and the Catholic community in the United States of America. We will gather in November for our annual fall plenary session in Baltimore, our nation’s premier see. The meeting is a moment of prayer, business and fellowship and we look forward to welcoming you on this occasion.
Again, please accept our warm welcome to Washington and to the United States of America.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops