Pope Benedict XVI named Worcester’s Msgr. Michael W. Banach, a Vatican diplomat, to be an apostolic nuncio, which will carry with it the title of archbishop, Bishop McManus confirmed on Friday (Feb. 22).
Msgr. Banach has been in the diplomatic service since 1994. He has been serving as permanent representative of the Holy See to international organizations in Vienna, Austria.
“I’m very happy for Monsignor that he has served the Church well in the diplomatic service and I’m very pleased that one of our own priests is able to serve the needs of the universal Church in a sensitive and important capacity,” Bishop McManus said.
The Vatican Information Service reported Friday that the Pope appointed Msgr. Banach titular archbishop of Memphis, Egypt, at the same time assigning him the office of apostolic nuncio.
The VIS also reported the appointments of four other apostolic nuncios; one each to Colombia, El Salvador, and Liberia and another with no place named.
Msgr. Banach will be ordained a bishop with the title archbishop, Bishop McManus explained.
Bishop McManus said Msgr. Banach will not be a residential archbishop like the archbishop of Boston. He said that Memphis, is an ancient see in Egypt, one of the sees from the early days of the Church that was suppressed.
“I think it’s an honor for the diocese” that the Holy Father has recognized his capabilities and expertise. It’s a personal honor for him and the diocese, and a big responsibility, Bishop McManus said.
Msgr. Banach was born the son of Wallace and Jane Banach. He grew up in Auburn and attended Pakachoag Elementary School and Auburn High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross, then studied for the priesthood at the North American College in Rome.
He was ordained a priest by Bishop Harrington in St. Paul Cathedral. He served as associate pastor at St. Anne’s Parish in Shrewsbury before beginning studies in Rome in 1992 at the Gregorian University and earned a doctorate in Canon Law in 1994.
He then joined the Vatican Diplomatic Service. He was named a monsignor on Jan 11, 1996 by Pope John Paul II. He served in Bolivia and Nigeria and, as desk officer for Central Europe for the Vatican Secretary of State, worked in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
He was serving as the Holy See permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA), to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations Organization for Industrial Development (ONUDI), and to the Office of the United Nations in Vienna, Austria.
This is the second time in two months that a priest of the Diocese of Worcester has received an appointment from Pope Benedict XVI. In January, Msgr. Francis D. Kelly was made a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, a position that focuses on the service of prayer.
Even though Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation effective Feb. 28, “the work of the Church continues,” Bishop McManus said.