The Pope, as the Vicar of Christ on earth, in order to ensure that each country has a tangible sign of his care for the Lord's entire Flock, appoints an Apostolic Nuncio (Ambassador of the Holy See) as his personal and official representative both to the Church in the United States and to its Government.
His Excellency Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Titular Archbishop of Gunela
Archbishop Christophe Pierre was born on January 30, 1946 in Rennes, France. He completed his primary education in Antisirabé, Madagascar, and his secondary schooling in Saint-Malo, France, and in Marrakech, Morocco. He attended the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Rennes (1963-1969) and the Catholic Institute of Paris (1969-1971).
He did the Military Service from July 1965, to October 1966. He was ordained a priest on April 5, 1970, in Saint-Malo, France and incardinated in the Archdiocese of Rennes. He was Parochial Vicar of the St. Peter and St. Paul Parish in Colombes, Diocese of Nanterre, France (1970-1973).
He has a Master in Sacred Theology (Paris, 1971) and a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome (1973-1977).
He completed his studies at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, in Rome (1973-1977), and started his service in the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See on March 5, 1977.
He was appointed first to the Pontifical Representation in New Zealand and the Islands of the Pacific Ocean (1977-1981). Subsequently he served in Mozambique (1981); in Zimbabwe (1982-1986); in Cuba (1986-1989); in Brazil (1989-1991); at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland (1991-1995).
He was elected Titular Archbishop of Gunela on July 12, 1995, and received the Episcopal Consecration on September 24, 1995, in Saint-Malo, France.
Archbishop Christophe Pierre was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, on July 12, 1995, where he served until 1999. He has been the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda (1999-2007) and then, the Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico (2007-2016). He was appointed as Apostolic Nuncio of the United States of America by His Holiness, Pope Francis on April 12, 2016.
Archbishop Pierre speaks French, English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
Description and Explanation
The motto chosen for the Coat of Arms is Si Scires Donum Dei (“If you knew the gift of God” – John 4:10). A woman of Samaria was sitting by the well when Jesus asked her for a drink of water … “Jesus answered her, if you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10
The shield contains 3 symbols:
The white animal is an ermine "passant argent gorged or and lampassed gules" as represented in the Coat of Arms of Saint-Malo, the Archbishop’s home town. The legend says that the ermine would rather die than to have her white fur stained.
The rock represents the granite rocks of Brittany. It is strong enough to resist the constant assaults of the sea. It is therefore a symbol of solidity. The surname of the Archbishop, "Pierre", is the French translation of rock or stone. The Archbishop has also received the mission to represent the Successor of the first Pope, named by Jesus as Cephas (rock or stone).
The river crossing the shield represents the water the woman of Samaria was looking at (the well of Jacob) when Jesus offered to give her living water. It represents also the river which St. Christopher (“Christ-bearer”) was helping people to cross over. Once, a child on his shoulders became suddenly heavy and was revealed to him as being Jesus himself.
The Coat of Arms was designed by Xavier Pierre, a younger brother of the Archbishop. He passed away in 1999.
Former Apostolic Delegates:
His Eminence Francesco Cardinal Satolli: 1893-1896
His Eminence Sebastiano Cardinal Martinelli: 1896-1902
His Eminence Diomede Cardinal Falconio: 1902-1911
His Eminence Giovanni Cardinal Bonzano: 1911-1922
His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Fumasoni-Biondi: 1922-1933
His Eminence Amleto G. Cardinal Cicognani: 1933-1958
His Eminence Egidio Cardinal Vagnozzi: 1958-1967
His Eminence Luigi Cardinal Raimondi: 1967-1973
His Excellency Most Reverend Jean Jadot: 1973-1980
His Eminence Pio Cardinal Laghi: 1980-1984
Former Apostolic Pro-Nuncios:
His Eminence Pio Cardinal Laghi: 1984-1990
His Eminence Agostino Cardinal Cacciavillan: 1990-1998
Former Apostolic Nuncios:
His Excellency Most Reverend Gabriel Montalvo: 1998-2006
His Excellency Most Reverend Pietro Sambi: 2006-2011
His Excellency Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò: 2011-2016