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Coptic Catholic cleric named as Pope's 2nd priest-secretary

Catholic World News - April 17, 2014

Pope Francis has appointed a Coptic Catholic priest, Father Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, to work as his 2nd personal secretary, Andrea Tornielli of La Stamp reports.

Father Lahzi Gaid has been working in the Secretariat of State, where his duties have included reading the Arabic-language summary of the Pope’s remarks at weekly public audiences. In his new role he will work alongside Father Fabian Pedacchio, the Argentine priest who has been assisting Pope Francis since shortly after his election.

The appointment of a priest from an Eastern Catholic tradition to serve alongside the Pontiff is another innovation by Pope Francis, who has already showed a very different approach to the use of priest-secretaries.

Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis does not allow his secretaries to set his schedule, nor are the secretaries regularly seen with the Pope at public appearances. Father Lahzi Gaid is expected to continue doing some work at the Secretariat of State, as Father Pedacchio still works at the Congregation for Bishops.

As the 2nd priest-secretary serving with Pope Francis, Father Lahzi Gaid replaces Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, who was appointed in March to become the secretary-general of the new Secretariat for the Economy. Msgr. Xuereb had begun working as private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI, and continued in that role under Pope Francis until his new appointment.

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