Pope Francis has chosen a Uruguayan priest who has worked with street children to be one of his two personal secretaries.
The Vatican said Sunday that Francis has known the Reverend Gonzalo Aemilius since 2006, when the pontiff was then-archbishop of Buenos Aires.
A few days after Francis was elected pontiff in 2013, he recognised Aemilius in a crowd of well-wishers outside a Vatican gate and invited him into a church where the pontiff was about to celebrate his first public Mass as pope. The pope asked the crowd to pray for Aemilius on behalf of his work with children.
According to Vatican News, Father Aemilius was interviewed the following day by the L'Osservatore Romano and said that the then-archbishop Jorge Bergoglio's ability to integrate different values and channel them in a single direction had struck him deeply: “Experiencing this ability of his was decisive in my life," he said.
"He taught me to take the best that is in each individual, however different he or she may be from others, and to put it to good use for the good of all".
Aemilius, 40, replaces an Argentine priest who had been the pope's secretary since 2013 but who last month returned to his job at the Vatican's office dealing with bishops.
An Egyptian priest currently serves as the pope's other personal secretary.