CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 March 2019

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Revamps at Vatican press office

VATICAN (CNS): The Vatican Dicastery for Communication, formerly the Secretariat for Communication, has created new roles within the press office of the Holy See as part of its media reform and reorganisation. The new positions announced by the dicastery on January 11 included two new assistants to the director: Sister Bernadette M. Reis, of the Daughters of St. Paul, from the United States (US); and Raul Cabrera Perez, from Peru; as well as an office manager, US-born Thaddeus Jones.
 
Dicastery prefect, Paolo Ruffini, also named French journalist, Romilda Ferrauto, to be a senior adviser to the press office’s interim director, Alessandro Gisotti.
 
Gisotti told reporters he had significant input in suggesting potential candidates to Ruffini for the new positions. Gisotti, Ferrauto, Sister Reis, Cabrera and Jones had all worked at Vatican Radio or its reconsolidated entity, Vatican News.
 
Gisotti said it was important that the new hires be journalists as “a sign of respect,” and a greater help to the journalists and reporters who depend on the press hall for information about the pope and the Vatican.
 
Ferrauto was retired from her longtime position as head of the French news section at the radio and had served as an assistant to the press office for the last five general assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, according to a note from the dicastery.
 
In addition to her reporting work at Vatican News, Sister Reis also is a consultant for the communication commission of the International Union of Superiors General. After his work at Vatican Radio, Cabrera went on to help the information commission for the Synod of Bishops on young people.
 
Apart from his radio work, Jones had extensive experience at the former Pontifical Council for Social Communications and had been a key member of the coordinating team of the Vatican News website.
 
Gisotti told reporters that the addition of native English, French and Spanish speakers reflects an effort to create “an international team serving the Holy Father.” 
 
The new positions also are aimed at “strengthening the press hall” so that it is “not just the director but a working community.”
 
A new vice director will not be named until a permanent director has been appointed, which, Gisotti said, should happen soon.'
 
Gisotti was named interim director of the press office on 31 December 2018 when journalists, Greg Burke of the US, and Paloma Garcia Ovejero of Spain, announced their resignations, saying they believed Pope Francis should be “completely free to assemble a new team” for Vatican communications “at this time of transition.” 
 
The communications operations of the Vatican have been undergoing a reorganisation since Pope Francis created the then-Secretariat for Communication in 2015 to streamline and coordinate the Vatican’s many news and communications outlets, including the press office.

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