Papal Nuncio 'deeply grateful' as he swaps our shores for Albania
After five years as Papal Nuncio, the Pope's ambassador in Ireland will leave our shores tomorrow.
Ahead of his departure, Archbishop Charles Brown said he was "deeply grateful for the kindness, graciousness, and the welcome" he received during his time here.
The New Yorker leaves Ireland to take up his new role as Papal Nuncio of Albania.
He held a farewell gathering for Church figures at the Apostolic Nunciature on Dublin's Navan Road last Thursday.
His successor has not yet been announced.
In a video message for the 'Irish Catholic' newspaper, Archbishop Brown said: "My predominant emotion on leaving is a sense of tremendous gratitude for being here.
"I thank people for the edification I received by seeing their faith.
"I want to thank everyone for the amazing welcome I received since arriving in January 2012. I am so deeply grateful for the kindness from every quarter, a welcome, a graciousness that continued for five years during my time here."
Archbishop Brown's appointment to Ireland by Pope Benedict in November 2011 followed the publication of four reports in to clerical child sex abuse.
Last year, the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) - which represents a third of Ireland's priests - severely criticised him over his selection of bishops.
The ACP said it was "reluctant to call for Archbishop Brown's removal" but said his appointment was "widely interpreted as an opportunity of disciplining the Irish Church".
During his term, Archbishop Brown was involved in the appointment of 16 bishops.
The ACP expressed "grave disquiet" at the lack of consultation involved as well as a "preference for candidates drawn from a particular mind-set".
However, Archbishop Eamon Martin said he "endeared himself to so many people in Ireland, thanks to his down-to-earth and friendly nature.
"For me, his energy, courtesy, openness, warmth and co-operativeness have exemplified the style of Pope Francis," he said.