The Vatican announced Friday that Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican communications department, has amended the organizational structure of the Holy See Press Office to include a senior advisor, two assistants, and an office manager.
The positions are in support of the press office director and will remain in place beyond the mandate of Alessandro Gisotti, who was named to the position on an interim basis after the sudden departure of Greg Burke and his vice director Paloma Garcia Ovejero Dec. 31.
The new appointees come from diverse geographic backgrounds, as two hail from the United States, one from Peru, and the fourth is French-Italian.
In comments to journalists Jan. 11, Gisotti pointed to this fact, underlining the “internationality” of the new supporting team, which he called “very, very important.” He said that collectively the new staff members come with significant experience working at Vatican Radio and have “a history of collaboration with the press office.”
Gisotti emphasized that there is no “Italian team” or any team of a particular nationality, saying, “we are trying to be the ‘Holy See team’ serving the Church and the Holy Father.”
Romilda Ferrauto will serve as senior advisor to the director. She told journalists Jan. 11 that while she cannot give official statements, she is at the disposal of Vatican journalists, and is happy to hear their concerns and perspectives.
Ferrauto has over 20 years’ experience at Vatican Radio, including as the manager of the French section. She also served as an assistant to the press office during the last five general assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.
Sr. Bernadette M. Reis, a religious sister of the Daughters of St. Paul, joins the press office as an assistant to the director. Reis, who hails from the United States, is a journalist for Vatican News and a consultant for the Communication Commission of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).
Peruvian Raúl Cabrera Pérez, a long-time Vatican Radio journalist, was also appointed assistant to the director. Most recently, he collaborated with the information commission for the Synod of Bishops on Young People in October 2018.
American Thaddeus M. Jones, a member of the coordinating team in the Vatican News Portal Office and a former official of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, was appointed office manager.
Gisotti told journalists that as his leadership of the press office is for now “ad interim,” there will be no vice director appointment at this time.
He expressed his desire that the intermediary period would be a short one and that the Holy See Press Office would return to normal as quickly as possible, adding that, in reality, it will be a “new normal.”
For the future, another objective, he said, is to better coordinate with Vatican Media, the news branch of the Dicastery for Communications.
On the resignations of Burke and Ovejero, Gisotti noted that the former director is his friend, and that he has known Ovejero since she arrived in Rome, but that he had no comment on their exit or the reasons behind it.
He added that the two were with him the entire day following their resignation to assist in the transfer of duties.