The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, and Vice-Director, Paloma G. Ovejero, gave Pope Francis their resignation, they announced today, Dec. 31, 2018.
The Holy Father accepted their resignation and appointed, ad interim, in their place, Italian journalist Alessandro Gisotti, 44, who has been serving in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications as social media coordinator.
Greg Burke comments in English on his Twitter account: “Paloma and I have resigned, effective Jan. 1. In this period of transition in Vatican communications, we think it’s best the Holy Father is completely free to assemble a new team.”
He also tweeted: “I joined the Vatican in 2012. The experience has been fascinating, to say the least. Thank you, Pope Francis. Un abrazo muy fuerte.”
“New year, new adventures,” he tweeted.
Paloma Ovejero also tweeted in Spanish: “A page is turning. Thank you, Holy Father, for these two and a half years! Thank you, Greg, for your trust, your patience and your example.”
In this phase of Vatican Communications’ reform, Italian journalist Paolo Ruffini was appointed on July 5 as Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications. Italian Vaticanista journalist Andrea Tornielli was appointed editorial director of the dicastery on December 18th.
American Greg Burke and Spanish Paloma García Ovejero were appointed to lead the Press Office on July 11, 2016.
In a statement published after the announcement, Paolo Ruffini says he learned of their decision and pays tribute to their “professionalism, their humanity, their faith,” while thanking them for their dedication.
Referring to their “autonomous and free” choice, he recalls that they were the first direction after the launch of the Holy See’s communication system reform: “Their significant engagement has contributed to the path of reform that today requires- as they say – a quick witnessing passage, in the spirit of service of the Church. ”
The new acting director, Alessandro Gisotti, has been with the Vatican for many years, including serving as deputy editor at Vatican Radio and was involved in managing communication for the October 2018 Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.
In a statement, Gisotti thanked Pope Francis for his trust, “in such a delicate moment for the communication of the Holy See” and expressed his esteem and friendship for Greg Burke and Paloma Ovejero.
“I will seek,” he assured, “to carry out the task entrusted to me as best I can, with this spirit of service to the Church and the Pope that I have had the privilege of learning from Father Federico Lombardi for almost 20 years. ”
Paolo Ruffini assures of his will to continue the reform of the Vatican communication, emphasizing that the year 2019 promises to be “dense of important meetings which require the maximum of efforts of communication”. He confides his certainty that Alessandro Gisotti “will guide the Interim Press Office, waiting for his new framework to be defined as soon as possible”