Good evening friends and guests.
We are pleased and honored to be a part of the kick-off day of “The Church Up Close” seminar organized by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. We warmly welcome you to Villa Richardson, the home of the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
I understand the seminar is in its fourth edition, and this year’s theme is “Covering Catholicism in the Age of Francis.” That is certainly a tall task as the Pope keeps us all on our toes, journalists and diplomats alike. I arrived last month as the new Deputy Chief of Mission at our embassy, and I can say it is a very exciting time to be engaging and covering the Vatican as a U.S. diplomat.
It is encouraging to see such a diverse group of journalists participating in this seminar from all over the world – from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and here in Europe. And we offer a special welcome to the American journalists present here today.
I’d also like to give special thanks to Father Wauck and Professor Arasa for their partnership in this event. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, which was inaugurated in the same year as the U.S. began official diplomatic relations with the Holy See, in 1984.
And now I’ll pass it over to the newly arrived Political Chief at our embassy, Peter Martin, who will say a few words about covering the Vatican from the diplomatic perspective.
I wish you all a successful and productive seminar, and a wonderful time in the Eternal City!