Pope Francis has extended his congratulations to president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is set to take oath on Thursday, June 30.

The Pope’s message to Marcos Jr. was read by Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown during a dinner hosted by the Apostolic Nunciature of Manila on the eve of the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

“I send my congratulations and cordial wishes to your excellency as you begin your mandate as the president of the republic,” Brown quoted the Pope as saying.

“In assuring you of my prayers that you will be sustained in wisdom and strength, I invoke Almighty God’s blessings of peace and prosperity upon the nation,” he added.

Brown himself conveyed the Church’s support for Marcos Jr.

“He and his administration can be sure of the collaboration and support of the Catholic Church and the Holy See as he takes on the weighty responsibilities of his office,” Brown said before reading the Pope’s message.

Marcos Jr. will be inaugurated as the 17th president of the Philippines on June 30 at the National Museum of the Philippines in Ermita, Manila.

Marcos won the presidential race with more than 31.1 million votes. Outgoing Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo trailed her 2016 vice-presidential race opponent with more than 15 million votes.

Marcos and his running-mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, were declared winners of the May 9 presidential and vice-presidential elections on May 25. John Ezekiel J. Hirro