Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Pope's Entourage

When Pope Benedict XVI comes to the United States in mid-April, he won't exactly be leaving the Vatican behind, reports John Thavis in a story on Benedict's traveling party (Catholic News Service, April 3, 2008):

Traveling with the pope is a 30-man entourage of Roman Curia officials, liturgical advisers, doctors, media experts and security personnel, all of whom have highly specialized assignments.

This "portable Vatican" has accompanied popes since Pope Paul VI first hopped on a plane in 1964. They represent the Vatican's interface with the host country, and at the same time keep the pope in touch with the Vatican and the world.

Some are Vatican frequent flyers, having traveled the globe with popes over the last 30 years. Others are making their first trip on Pope Benedict's "Volo Papale" (papal flight) to Washington and New York.

Key Vatican officials include Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, and his assistant, Archbishop Fernando Filoni. Both will stay in close contact with the Vatican and its diplomatic network throughout the papal visit.

Five Americans are traveling with the pope, including Cardinal William J. Levada, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal F. James Stafford, head of the Vatican office that deals with penitential issues. ...

Also profiled in the article: Guido Marini (master of liturgical ceremonies); Georg Ganswein (personal secretary); Alberto Gasbarri (papal trip organizer), Domenico Giani (chief of Vatican security), Federico Lombardi (Vatican spokesman), Renato Buzzonetti (personal physician) and Francesco Sforza (Vatican's main photographer).