Pope to preside over episcopal ordination of U.S. Vatican official

Vatican City — Pope Francis personally will preside over the episcopal ordination of Msgr. Peter B. Wells, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was appointed papal nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia.

At the same Mass March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, Pope Francis will ordain as a bishop Comboni Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Prior to his appointment as papal nuncio, Archbishop-designate Wells served as the longtime deputy chief of staff at the Vatican's Secretariat of State.

Born in 1963, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1991 after studying at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana and at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He earned a bachelor's degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and a license in theology from Rome's Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

After serving various posts in his native Tulsa, he returned to Rome and earned degrees in canon law at the Gregorian University. Archbishop-designate Wells graduated from the Pontifical Ecclesial Academy in Rome where he studied international law and papal diplomacy before entering the Vatican's diplomatic service in 1999.

Bishop-designate Ayuso, born in Seville, Spain in 1952, served as a Comboni missionary in Egypt and Sudan from 1980 to 2002. He earned a licentiate from the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in 2012.

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