ROME — Pope Francis has named Maltese Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, nuncio to Lebanon for the past four years, as the new nuncio to Mexico.

The Vatican announced the appointment July 7.

The position will be a homecoming of sorts for the 63-year-old archbishop; he had served as first secretary in the Mexico City nunciature in the late 1990s before transferring to the nunciature in Portugal in 1998.

Born in Sliema, Malta, May 20, 1959, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1984 and sent to Rome to study at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, where the Vatican trains its diplomats.

After earning a degree in canon law, he entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1988, serving at nunciatures in Panama, Iraq, Mexico, Portugal, Greece and Venezuela before working at the Vatican Secretariat of State in its Section for Relations with States and International Organizations.

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named him an archbishop and nuncio to Sri Lanka. Pope Francis named him nuncio to Ivory Coast four years later. In 2018, the pope named him nuncio to Lebanon.

In Mexico City, he succeeds Archbishop Franco Coppola, who was named nuncio to Belgium in November.