Archbishop Tomasz Grysa was accredited on Tuesday. (Seychelles Nation)
The newly accredited Apostolic Nuncio to Seychelles has promised to continue to work on social issues and on mutual concern in climate change among others.
Archbishop Tomasz Grysa presented his credentials to Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House on Tuesday.
The Apostolic Nunciature is an ecclesiastical office of the Catholic Church in Seychelles. It is a diplomatic post of the Holy See and the representative is called the Apostolic Nuncio with the rank of an ambassador.
Grysa told reporters that among the topics discussed was the deformation of society, especially because of the country’s drug problem.
The Catholic Church will “cooperate in this field with its experience and expertise as it is very much involved in working with the people addicted and also in reacting in a structural way to fight drug trafficking,” said the Archbishop.
A study commissioned by the former Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation in 2018 on the number of heroin users of people aged 15 and over, showed that 10 percent of Seychelles’ population had an addiction problem. Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, had a population of 95,843 at the time.
Grysa said that the Church’s assistance in fighting the scourge was a collaborative effort with the country’s institutions such as the police.
“This is something that is very much at the heart of the Church’s mission because the future of the nation’s at stake because if young people continue to abuse drugs, there will be no future for the country,” he added.
The discussion also touched on the issue of climate change and how “Seychelles and the Holy See can cooperate more closely.”
In June 2015, Pope Francis published his encyclical called ‘Laudato Si’, warning the world of unprecedented destruction of ecosystems if the issue of climate change was not tackled.
The Archbishop relayed the Vatican’s stance on the subject that people “should be at the very heart of the topic which is why there should be continuous efforts to preserve the environment.”
Since its establishment in Seychelles in 1852, the Roman Catholic mission has paid a pivotal role in the education and health system.
“The work of priests and nuns in hospitals and the education system and also in many charitable organisations like Youth Centres and other initiatives were also among the topics discussed with the president,” he added.
Grysa said the Catholic Church “can still do more, but of course, the Church is very much present and involved in the social work in the country.”
The Nunciature was established in 1985 with the Nuncio – while based in Madagascar – holding several titles, giving him responsibilities in Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros as well as Seychelles.
Archbishop Grysa replaces Paolo Rocco Gualtieri who was appointed in September 2014.