Copyright: Vatican Media

Pope Francis Names Fr. Aemilius New Personal Secretary

Priest of Uruguay Used to Help Youth on the Street

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“Pope Francis has named Fr. Gonzalo Aemilius, of the clergy in Montevideo, Uruguay, as his personal secretary.”

The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, made this declaration Sunday, January 26, 2020.

“Father Gonzalo,” Bruni’s statement concluded, “was born on Sept. 18, 1979,  ordained a priest on May 6, 2006, and has a doctorate in theology.”

The secretary does not come from the Roman Curia, and rather is used to being among the people, working with youth on the street and the marginalized.

He takes the place of Argentinian priest, Msgr. Fabian Pedacchio, who served as Francis’ secretary from 2013 to 2019. He recently returned to working entirely within the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.

Fr.Aemilius joins along with Francis’ other particular secretary, Egyptian Father Yoannis Lahzi Gaid.

According to the Italian blog the IlSismografo, on 17 March 2013, within a few days of becoming Pope, Pope Francis presented Father Gonzalo to the faithful of the Vatican’s parish of Sant’Anna.

“There are some,” Francis then observed, “who are not parishioners: these Argentine priests, one is my auxiliary bishop, but for today they will be parishioners. But I want to introduce you to a priest who comes from afar, he has come, a priest who has been working with street kids for a long time, with drug addicts. He opened a school for them, he did many things to make Jesus known, and all these street boys and girls today work with the study they have done, have work skills, believe and love Jesus.”

“I ask you, Gonzalo,” the Pope said, “come to greet the people.”

“Pray for him,” Pope Francis said, adding: “He works in Uruguay, he is the founder of the Jubilar John Paul II High School: he does this job. I don’t know how he got here today.”

“I will find out!” he said.

Pope Francis concluded, saying thank you and telling the parishioners: “Pray for him.”

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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