VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Pope Francis’ choice to be the Holy See’s new permanent observer to the United Nations, said the pope has given him the mission of enlightening international discussions and debates with the principles of Catholic social teaching.

The 61-year-old Italian archbishop has been serving as the apostolic nuncio to the Philippines since September 2017. His appointment to the U.N. post was announced by the Vatican Nov. 16.

“I have really loved my time in the Philippines and will miss this beautiful country and its faithful people, to whom I express my deepest gratitude,” Archbishop Caccia said in a statement released by the Holy See’s U.N. office.

The archbishop will take up his new post Jan. 16 and said, “I hope to be able to fulfill well the new task Pope Francis has entrusted to me, seeking to bring the light of Catholic social teaching to the discussions and debates of the international community.”

“Next year,” he noted, “the United Nations will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding, and I look forward to helping the Holy See assist the United Nations in renewing its commitment to the pillars of its charter, preventing the scourge of war, defending human dignity and rights, promoting integral development and fostering respect and implementation of international law and treaties.”

At the United Nations, Archbishop Caccia succeeds Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who Pope Francis named in October as nuncio to Spain and Andorra.

Born in Milan, the new permanent observer was ordained to the priesthood in 1983 and served for three years at a Milan parish before attending the Vatican’s school for diplomats, the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome. He earned a doctorate in theology and a license in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Completing his studies in 1991, he joined the Vatican diplomatic service and was stationed in Tanzania for two years before joining the staff in the general affairs section of the Vatican Secretariat of State, eventually being named assessor for general affairs.

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named him nuncio to Lebanon and personally ordained him a bishop.

He served in Lebanon for eight years until Pope Francis sent him to Manila in 2017.