Before Fr. Federico Lombardi was appointed to the Holy Press Office in 2006, it was Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who since 1984, was the official voice and spokesperson for the Vatican. Sadly, it was announced yesterday by Vatican spokesperson, Greg Burke that Navarro-Valls passed away on July 5th at age 80 of cancer.
Navarro-Valls, was a medical doctor by training, and was the first lay journalist to hold the position when he was appointed by St. John Paul II in 1984. He was also a member of the religious organization Opus Dei. He traveled with St. John Paul on almost all of his apostolic journeys and became a world recognized figure, especially after the pope fell ill in 2004, when he regularly held press conferences to relay news to the world, of the pope's deteriorating condition.
In 1992, Navarro-Valls overhauled the press office with a $2 million dollar technological face-lift along with much-needed, modernized facilities. He also revolutionized the distribution of material by making archives, documents and statistics concerning the pope's activities available online.
Our very own Fr. Tom Rosica, had the pleasure of knowing Joaquin Navarro-Valls, and remembers working with him on many projects including the 2002 World Youth Day Toronto.
In the Philippines, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines will elect its new president this coming weekend. The current CBCP president, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, will step down after holding the post for the past four years. The new leader will assume office in December and will spearhead the Catholic Church's agenda for the next two years. “Everybody is a candidate and our belief is the Holy Spirit inspires us to write the name of the bishop that he has chosen to be CBCP President. Any bishop could be elected.” the Archbishop said to local media. The CBCP is embodied by 131 members, five of whom are administrators while 43 are retired. This upcoming plenary will also determine the CBCP's next vice president and eight new regional members of its Permanent Council. I will bring you the results of that election next week.
In the US, the team of the Catholic Apostolate Center, participated in last weekend’s “Convocation of Catholic Leaders” event as a ministry that works with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide programs and online resources for the New Evangelization. Who better to introduce their ministry than their Managing Director, Fr. Frank Donio himself:
And finally, one programming note to mention. This Sunday evening at 8 pm EST, Fr. Thomas Rosica sits down with Jesuit Fr. John Meehan, a prolific author and sought- after public speaker on Jesuit history. Fr. Meehan speaks about the extraordinary circumstances around his vocation while working with the handicapped at L'Arche with Jean Vanier in France. You can also watch the entire episode on our website here.
Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation – Born on the wings of World Youth Day 2002 in Canada, Salt + Light is a unique instrument of the New Evangelization. It is dedicated to being – and helping others become – the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Our mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ and the joy of the Gospel to the world by telling stories of hope that bring people closer to Christ and the Catholic faith.