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Pope interrupts vacation to meet with his new spokespersons, Burke and Garcia Ovejero

2016-07-11

The Pope interrupted his summer vacation to welcome his two new spokespersons.

"How are you doing?"
"A Spaniard stuck in the Vatican..."

In their first conversation, the Pope mentioned three aspects of their new job: fidelity, loyalty and transparency.

From now on these two become the official voice of the Vatican and its interpreters.

The prefect of the Secretariat for Communication made the announcement at noon, at an informal meeting in the Vatican press office

MSGR. DARÍO VIGANÒ
Prefect, Secretariat for Communication
"As you know, the Pope has appointed Greg Burke director of the Vatican press office. I give you the official document with the news... and appoint Paloma García Ovejero as deputy director of the Vatican press office. Now their position is official."

Among the meeting attendees was also the hitherto spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, who was appointed just 10 years ago.

MSGR. DARÍO VIGANÒ
Prefect, Secretariat for Communication
"You know his experience and his high profile. I know they already distributed the press release. They are now called to continue the work done by Fr. Federico Lombardi, to whom I give a heartfelt thanks for his 10 years of service.”

Greg Burke, the new spokesman for the Pope, is from Saint Louis (Missouri). He is 56 years old and has experience in the media, coming from his studies at Columbia University in New York. He came to Rome originally as a correspondent for TIME and Fox News and is a member of Opus Dei. 

The new deputy spokeswoman is Spanish journalist, Paloma García Ovejero. She is 40 years old and a Vatican correspondent for the Cadena Cope, which is linked to Spanish bishops. She covered the last few years of Benedict XVI's pontificate, up until now with Pope Francis. 

GREG BURKE 
Vatican spokesman
"I'm honored and moved actually by having the trust of the Pope, okay? There's no doubt about that. Incredibly thankful to Fr. Lombardi, because I've learned a lot in this whole time, really, an old time Jesuit, scholar and gentleman. I think she is somebody everybody knows, both of us come from, I've been out of the  press corps for years, but both of us come from that area, and I think that's good.” 

PALOMA GARCÍA OVEJERO
Vatican deputy spokeswoman
"Two lay people, one American, and the other a Spanish-speaker. I think if you go to the Gospel, the first people who announced the Resurrection were women. It is a logical choice, maybe the name and surname not so much, but it is natural. This is Pope Francis' style, and it is consistent with his words and especially with his vision of the Church."

In practice, Fr. Federico Lombardi will remain spokesman until July 31. His last press conference will be with Pope Francis on the flight back from World Youth Day in Krakow.


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