|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
Coveney was born in Tracton, County Cork, Ireland, 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. When use of the vernacular language was introduced into the celebration of the Roman Rite Mass, he edited a lectionary in English.
Service of the Holy See in Rome
In September 1966 he went to work in the English-language section of the Secretariat of State in the Vatican. 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.
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
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. 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. In Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, he represented the Holy See at the 8th Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (1–6 September 1986).
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. 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.
His last diplomatic appointment was as Nuncio to Greece on 25 January 2005. 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.
He retired in 2009.
- Diocese of Cork & Ross
- In Our Time (MG Publications, March 2009), p. 30
- Missal Lectionary (Cork, 1965)
- Coveney appears on the right of this photograph of the meeting between the Pope and the three astronauts.
- Annuario Pontificio 1986, p. 848
- Archbishop Patrick Coveney
- The Horn of Africa Bulletin, September-October 1995
- Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference, "Notable Dates and Events (1963-2006)"
- Irish Independent, 26 January 2005, "Pope appoints Irish bishop to senior post in Greece"
- "El Vaticano devuelve a Grecia un fragmento del Partenón" (El País, 5 de noviembre de 2008)
- Reuters Pictures, "Catholic Archbishop Patrick Coveney"