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A surprise pick for the Vatican's communications team

Palomar Garcia Ovejero

This week's big Vatican surprise came with the appointment of Spanish journalist Paloma Garcia Ovejero as vice-director of the Holy See Press Office, writes Inés San Martín at Crux.

"It's not about a woman getting the job. It's a man and a woman, two lay people," Garcia Ovejero said on Monday.

"And it's coherent with Pope Francis' vision of the Church: One Church that goes out, a de-clericalised Church, one of which we all feel part of, and where we all have the responsibility of announcing the Gospel," she told Crux the day the announcement was made.

"The mission is to announce Jesus Christ, dead and resurrected, and this is something we're all called to do, not just the priests," she added.

The fact that Garcia Ovejero is the first woman to hold the position came up repeatedly on Monday, both at the press office and in social media, as peers and Vatican-watchers began to react to the news.

She, however, played down that aspect of the appointment, saying it should matter "as much as the fact that I have brown hair, that I'm from Madrid, from Spain, and not too tall."

"Fortunately the Pope knows well, as the Church does, that the first to announce the Good News, Jesus' resurrection, were the women, who found the empty sepulcher and ran to tell everyone else," Garcia Ovejero said.

Hence, she insisted, the appointment "is pretty coherent, right?"

The eldest of seven children, three women and four boys, she's the proud aunt of nine.

"I have seven [nieces and nephews], and two on their way, so to me that's nine!' she said.

She describes herself as an "apostolic, Roman, Catholic journalist," who with her new position sees a change in her mission. Yet her biggest concern remains to "be faithful to the Church, the Pope, God's will, and to the truth."

Garcia Ovejero, 40, studied journalism in Madrid's Complutense University, and in 2006 did a specialisation in Management Strategies and Communication at New York University. She's worked at the Spanish broadcaster Cope since 1998, eventually moving to Rome in September 2012.

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First-ever woman a surprise pick as papal PR aide (Crux)

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