Patrick Coveney

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Styles of
Patrick Coveney
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Archbishop
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style none

Patrick Coveney (born 29 July 1934) is a Roman Catholic Archbishop. He is Apostolic Nuncio Emeritus to Greece.


Coveney was born in Tracton, County Cork, Ireland,[1] studied at Maynooth College (obtaining the academic degree of Bachelor of Arts in classical languages and literature), and the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, Italy (obtaining the Licentiate of Sacred Theology), and was ordained, aged twenty-four, as a priest on 21 February 1959 by the archbishop vicegerent (deputy vicar general of Rome) Luigi Traglia in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

After doing parish work in Kidlington, England, he taught in the minor seminary of the Diocese of Cork and Ross in Cork from 1960 to 1966.[2] When use of the vernacular language was introduced into the celebration of the Roman Rite Mass, he edited a lectionary in English.[3]

Service of the Holy See in Rome[edit]

In September 1966 he went to work in the English-language section of the Secretariat of State in the Vatican.[2] This sometimes involved acting as interpreter at audiences of Pope Paul VI, as when this Pope received the three astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission that first landed human beings on the Moon.[4]

At the Pontifical Lateran University he obtained the degree of Doctor of Canon Law in 1969 and, after attending lectures at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, was enrolled in 1971 in the diplomatic service of the Holy See.

Service in nunciatures[edit]

He served with the rank of Secretary in the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires from 1972 to 1976, returning then to the Secretariat of State in the Vatican. He was counselor of the nunciatures in New Delhi (1982–1984) and Khartoum (1984–1985).

On 27 July 1985 he was appointed titular Archbishop of Satrianum and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Zimbabwe and Apostolic Delegate to Mozambique.[5] He was ordained to the episcopate on 15 September 1985 in the cathedral of St Mary and St Anne, Cork. The principal consecrator was the Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli; the principal co-consecrators were Archbishop Gaetano Alibrandi, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, and Bishop Michael Murphy, Bishop of Cork and Ross.[6] In Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, he represented the Holy See at the 8th Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (1–6 September 1986).

On 25 January 1990 he was appointed Nuncio to Ethiopia and also became Apostolic Delegate to Djibouti on 26 March 1992 and on 30 September 1995 Nuncio to Eritrea.[7]

He became Nuncio to New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, and the Marshall Islands on 27 April 1996. His remit was expanded to include Fiji, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, and Nauru later that year, and to include the Cook Islands and Palau in 2001.[6] As the longest-serving resident diplomatic representative to New Zealand, Archbishop Coveney served for a time as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. While based in Wellington, he also represented the Holy See at the inauguration of Chen Shui-bian as president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) on 18 May 2004.[8]

His last diplomatic appointment was as Nuncio to Greece on 25 January 2005.[9] On 5 November 2008, he officiated at the presentation to the Acropolis Museum in Athens of a fragment of the Parthenon Frieze on loan from the Vatican Museums.[10][11]

He retired in 2009.