-"Oh, Holy Father.”
-"I'm glad to meet you.”
-"Thank you so much. It's a wonderful honor to be with you.”
Hackett's warm personality showed during his audience with Pope Francis. The two joked and laughed. But they also spoke about more serious issues, such as getting religious leaders involved in the policy-making process, and the promotion of human dignity.
Hackett is a familiar face for U.S. Catholics and is knowledgeable on the Vatican. He served as president and CEO for Catholic Relief Services, the American branch of the Vatican's main charity group.
Following their meeting, Hackett introduced his wife Joan, his two children, and his mother-in-law, to Pope Francis. He also introduced a dozen embassy employees and their family members.
The U.S. had been without an official representative at the Vatican for nearly a year. A few days before presenting his credentials, Hackett rolled out an online presence. The U.S. State Department released a video introducing him and his wife.
"The United States and the Vatican enjoy strong cooperation on a wide range of important global matters, such as combating global trafficking of persons, conflict prevention and mitigation, and human rights.”
The U.S. Embassy also relaunched it web page with the ambassador's biography, as well as his own personal blog. In it, Hackett said he plans to write about what he does as ambassador, as wellas the importance of the relationship between the United States and the Holy See.
-"I will pray for you.”
-"I need it.”
Hackett replaces Cuban-American theologian Miguel Diaz, who stepped down in November to become a college professor. Hackett is now the ninth U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, since the two countries established full relations in 1984.