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Rome Reports

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Santos Abril takes possession of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

Msgr. Santos Abril

Archpriest, Basilica of St. Mary Major (Rome)

“Here the relic of the Lord?s manger is kept, revered by many saints in Church history. In particular by St. Charles Borromeo, who was archpriest of the basilica, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and Blessed John Paul II during his annual visit on the day of the Immaculate Conception.”

The inauguration was attended by the Ambassador of Spain to the Holy See, María Jesús Figa. Her presence underscored the special relationship between Spain and St. Mary Major that dates to the sixteenth century. Then Spanish emperor Carlos V offered part of the first gold shipment brought from America for the construction of the basilica?s ceiling. The new archpriest is a new mark in this special relationship.

Msgr. Santos Abril

Archpriest, Basilica of St. Mary Major (Rome)

“The Secretary of State, on the day I was told the Holy Father wanted to commend me in the service of the basilica, emphasized the fact that they were pleased by the fact that a Spanish, perhaps for the first time, was archpriest of the papal basilica St. Mary Major, which tied to Spain in a special way.”

In his first official speech, the new archpriest invited King Juan Carlos of Spain to visit the basilica, who is already Protocanon of the church.

Santos Abril has an extensive diplomatic career. He served as nuncio in Equatorial Guinea, Argentina and Bosnia Herzegovina. He also worked in the Spanish section of the Vatican Secretariat of State during the pontificate of John Paul II, to whom he gave classes in Spanish. ;

Msgr. Santos Abril

Archpriest, Basilica of St. Mary Major (Rome)

“We started just two months before the trip to Mexico, which was the first goal for the meeting with the bishops of Latin America, he aspired to be able to understand enough, to be able to react with the most common phrases, etc. And this is why he told me to always stay next to him during the trip. But then I was amazed when, on several occasions he jumped into improvising.”

In addition to being an archpriest, Santos Abril is also Vicecamarlengo. His work would be crucial if the pope were to die because the Camerlengo is responsible for the management of the vacancy and supervision of the conclave.

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