Vatican taps Filipino priest to lead papal mission to Pacific nation of Tuvalu

June 13, 2024 - 5:18 PM
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Fr. Eliseo Napiere, MSP, the new ecclesiastical superior of the Missio sui iuris of Funafati, Tuvalu. (St. James The Less Roman Catholic Church Perris/YouTube)

Another Filipino missionary priest will lead the papal mission to the small Pacific island country of Tuvalu.

Pope Francis on Monday appointed Fr. Eliseo Napiere of the Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP) as superior of the Missio sui iuris (independent mission) of Funafuti.

He will succeed Bishop Reynaldo Getalado, who was ordained and installed coadjutor bishop of Rarotonga in Cook Islands on April 27.

A missio sui iuris is a special mission established by the pope for a remote region with few Catholics. Funafuti has a population of around 11,000, of which 110 are Catholics belonging to one parish.

Napiere, 58, has been serving as parish priest of Saint James the Less Perris Parish, part of the US diocese of San Bernardino in California, since 2018. He is also a member of the diocese’s presbyteral council.

Assigned in the US since 2016, he first served as parish vicar of Saint Edward Parish in the city of Corona, also under the San Bernardino diocese.

Born in Bohol province’s Maribojoc town, he was ordained priest on Jan. 19, 1991 for the MSP.

After his ordination, he was assigned as parish vicar of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Cebu City from 1991 to 1992, and Scholastic Director and Procurator of Fil-Mission Seminary Tagaytay City from 1992 to 1994.

From 1994 to 1999, he was a member of the MSP General Council and Bursar General.

In 2002, he was sent as a missionary to the Diocese of Taichung in Taiwan, where he served until 2016.

During that period, he also served as executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference, national director of the Apostleship of the Sea, and Taichung diocesan migrants’ director and chaplain.