Pope Francis has named Italian Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia to serve as his new representative to the United Nations.

The appointment was announced on Saturday by the Holy See. Caccia will succeed outgoing papal nuncio, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who has held the post since 2014. Last month, he was named as the nuncio to Spain and the Principality of Andorra.

Caccia now becomes the seventh Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York since the Holy See became a Permanent Observer State on April 6, 1964.

In a statement issued upon news of Caccia’s appointment, Auza reflected on the long-standing friendship between the two men and highlighted Caccia’s service to Auza’s homeland in the Philippines.

“Archbishop Caccia and I have known each other for more than thirty years, since our years together at the Vatican’s Diplomatic School. In the two years he has spent in my home country the Philippines, he has endeared himself so deeply to the Filipinos,” he said. “While the Philippines will surely miss him, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations will greatly benefit from his rich diplomatic experience and impressive priestly and human qualities. The whole team of the Permanent Observer Mission is excited to welcome him warmly to New York.”

Caccia arrives in New York, at age 61, after spending nearly thirty years in the diplomatic service. He was born in Milan and raised in Cavaria con Premezzo.

The archbishop was ordained a priest of the archdiocese of Milan in 1983 by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini before studying in Rome at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the Vatican’s school for future diplomats. He graduated in 1991. He holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) and a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Prior to his appointment in the Philippines, he held posts at the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Tanzania, and Lebanon.

“I have really loved my time in the Philippines and will miss this beautiful country and its faithful people. But 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,” he said in a statement.

“Next year, 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,” he continued.

Caccia will finish out his duties in Manila and is slated to start work in New York on January 16, 2020.