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Tuesday, July 11, 2006


VATICAN CITY, JUL 11, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. as director of the Holy See Press Office. Fr. Lombardi was born in Saluzzo, Italy in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1972. He is currently director general of the Vatican Television Center and of Vatican Radio, posts he will continue to hold in his new office.

  Benedict XVI accepted the resignation from the office of director of the Holy See Press Office presented by Joaquin Navarro-Valls, thanking him for his long and generous service. Joaquin Navarro-Valls was born in Cartagena, Spain in 1936 and has been director of the Holy See Press Office since 1984.

  Given below is the text of a letter to journalists written by Fr. Lombardi for the occasion of his new appointment, and a declaration by Joaquin Navarro Valls:

  Fr. Lombardi's letter:

  "Dear friends,

  "As I prepare to assume this new responsibility at the Holy See Press Office I am, naturally, grateful to the Holy Father and to the Superiors for the trust they place in me; but my thoughts also go out especially - and with affection - to you and to all our colleagues in the media whom I am called to serve.

  "Like you, I have been working for some time to ensure that the activity of the Holy Father and the reality of the Church are known and understood objectively and adequately.

  "Dr. Navarro-Valls performed his own long service in this field with exceptional ability, intelligence and dedication. We are all profoundly grateful to him and continue to depend on his friendship.

  "I cannot hope to imitate him, but you may depend upon my commitment - within my limits but with all the power at my disposal - to serve the Holy Father and your own good work. I know I shall be able to depend on the collaboration generously offered - both to me and to you - by all the staff of the Press Office, beginning with Vice Director Fr. Ciro Benedettini.

  "I also ask for your benevolence, so that this shared portion of our journey may be more fruitful.

  "I entrust these sentiments to the Lord on the feast day of St. Benedict upon which, perhaps not by chance, I receive my appointment to this new service."

  Joaquin Navarro-Valls' declaration:

  "I am very grateful to the Holy Father who has seen fit to accept my oft-expressed readiness to leave, after so many years, the post of director of the Holy See Press Office.

  "I know that I have, over these years, received much more than I have been able to give, more than I am at present capable of fully comprehending."

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