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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

Newest trend at the Vatican? Learning Spanish...

2014-06-24

Since the election of Pope Francis, Spanish has had a greater profile, in and out of the Vatican.

As a result, the Cervantes Institute in Rome inked a special deal with the Holy See to teach Vatican employees the Pope's native language.

SERGIO RODRIGUEZ LOPEZ-ROS
Director, Cervantes Institute in Rome
"In talk with high-ranking officials and superiors, they've expressed they would like to read to the Pope, or hear him talk in his native language, so that they don't miss out on anything he 's trying to convey.”

Pope Francis is the first Spanish-speaking pontiff since 1503. He's the spiritual leader of 1.23 billion Catholics, or which 42 percent speaks Spanish. His personality and, in particular, his command of the language has given Spanish a greater appeal.

SERGIO RODRIGUEZ LOPEZ-ROS
Director, Cervantes Institute in Rome
"There truly is a greater demand to learn Spanish. Here in Rome, especially. It's clear that the point of reference and pillar of the Spanish-language, by a wide margin, is the Pope, in Rome, in Italy, and I would say around the world. It's obvious that a Spanish-speaking had not been seen in centuries, and especially a Pope with so much charisma and strength.”

Each day, thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Vatican, many from Latin America and Spain. So hearing Spanish throughout the streets of Rome, is not uncommon. It's another reason why the Vatican signed this deal with one of the leading institutions that promotes Spanish and Hispanic American culture around the world.

About 5000 Vatican employees will have the chance to take the courses, without having to travel very far. It's proof that it's not just a Spanish-speaking Pope, but the language itself, undergoing a transformation.


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