There has been a “domino effect” in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: while Cardinal Fernando Filoni remains prefect, two experienced prelates were nominated on November 9, 2017, to the positions of secretary and adjunct secretary.
On September 28, the position of Secretary for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples became vacant after Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai was named apostolic nuncio in Greece. Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, bishop emeritus of Kigoma in Tanzania, has been chosen by the Holy Father to take his place. Archbishop Rugambwa had been serving as adjunct secretary in the same dicastery.
The Tanzanian prelate was replaced in this position by Monsignor Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, who only a few months ago was secretary for the Pontifical Council Cor Unum “for human and Christian development”. But this organization was absorbed on January 1, 2017 by the new Dicastery for Integral Human Development.
Archbishop Rugambwa already knows the ropes at the Congregation, after working there as an official from 2000 to 2008. And as former bishop of Kigoma, he has a thorough knowledge of Tanzania and its nearby neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kigoma is situated on the banks of Lake Tanganyika, not far from Burundi and across from Congo.
Likewise, Monsignor Dal Toso’s many years of experience in the Cor Unum Council, from 2010 to 2017, brought him especially close to the most afflicted Christian communities. During the Syrian conflict, he went to Syria twice, at a time when the country was divided between the zones controlled by Assad’s army and those in the hands of the Islamist militias.