It is my privilege to interpret the sentiments of the Irish Bishops and to express their good wishes and gratitude to you, Archbishop Giuseppe, as you prepare to leave our shores.

You and I have known each other for some 20 years, since your days at the Irish Desk in the Secretariat of State and mine at Via SS Quattro.

Before coming to Ireland you had some knowledge of our country through your friendship with the late Monsignor Cyril Mulligan. So, when you came you were not a stranger. But you immediately revealed yourself to be a man of great human qualities, with a wonderful capacity for empathy, understanding and friendship. You were always willing to work with the bishops, offering every assistance you could to safeguard what related to the mission of the Church and the Apostolic See. You gladly travelled the length and breadth of our country. You brought your fellow priests from Padua to visit Ireland and to do their retreat here. The sense of joy and happiness which you obviously experienced yourself and displayed has helped and inspired many others. So, for all of that we thank you. We are genuinely sorry to see you go and we wish you every blessing in the future.

I was speaking to your colleague, Archbishop Franco, earlier this week and he sends you greetings and the invitation to spend some time in Jerusalem with him en route to Australia.

Your superiors in Rome are very happy with your work here and I am sure they know that they are entrusting the immediate preparations for World Youth Day to a very competent Nuncio.

As one who represents the very best of the religious life and culture of Padua with its University, Scrovegni Palace Giotta, Santa Justince etc, we thought a painting with a religious theme might be an acceptable souvenir of your stay in Ireland.

The name of the artist is O’Brien. An name that evokes the kings of Munster. The setting is Glendalough – the Glen of the two Loughs – one of the most evocative names in the history of Irish monastic life with its association with St. Kevin. The Round Tower evokes persecution and threat and defence.

It is a winter scene reminding us all that even in the green island of Ireland it is sometimes winter, despite global warming. The branches of the trees reminds us of nature and the cycle of the seasons – that spring always follows winter.

The love bird is singing – singing the praises of God whose name is great and whose magnificence is always to be glorified.

We hope that as you glance at this picture somewhere it will evoke good memories for you. They say seven is the perfect number so a seven year stay is the perfect term.

We wish you sincerely God’s blessing and hope that someday you will return to our country where you will find many friends.

Thank you.