Thursday, February 07, 2008

From the English Desk

On a brief visit home to Michigan, a staffer at the Secretariat of State's famous "English desk" talked with a local newspaper about his work.

A priest of the diocese of Gaylord, Fr Dan Gallagher (shown above with the Big Boss) is one of seven hands on deck at the Vatican's nerve-center for all things Anglophone... whose alums have largely gone on to even higher stations of service, both in Rome and abroad.
"It is an opportunity to see the church from a bird's eye view, and I learned that there are a lot of areas of the world where Christians are suffering because of their faith," Gallagher said.

Since English is an important language in places such as Asia, the Middle East, Pakistan and India, he also deals with many countries that are not English speaking.

"The English department covers a lot of areas," he said.

Gallagher takes particular pride in being a priest with the Gaylord Diocese and loves it when he has the opportunity to present an English-speaking program to the church, particularly when it's hometown folks.

Last summer, Gallagher presented members of the choir of Christ the King Church in Acme to the Pope. The choir made a musical pilgrimage to the Vatican that included a performance before Pope Benedict.

Fr. Gallagher says the job can be fast-paced.

"Vatican City maintains diplomatic relations with other countries and we prepare for visits from heads of state," Gallagher said.

Currently the Vatican is arranging for Pope Benedict's eight-day visit to the United States in April. Gallagher is helping prepare information the pope will present to United Nations delegates.

He's also involved in preparations for World Youth Day, taking place this year in Australia.

"This experience has been a real privilege, but it's always nice to come home," Gallagher said. "You forget how much at home you feel in your own country when you get off the plane, and the McDonald's ... . No matter how long you're gone, America stays America."
PHOTO: Fr Dan Gallagher/Special to the Record-Eagle