After Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement in early February, the Director of the Vatican press office called Father Rosica. "He said come immediately, so I came," recalled the Basilian priest.
Fluent in six languages, Father Rosica is handling Vatican communications with the English-speaking world leading up to the papal conclave and installation of a new Roman Pontiff. "It's an incredible experience, but I don't foget my roots in Rochester, New York," he said from Rome.
Father Rosica grew up in Rochester, attending Aquinas and St. John Fisher College. He went to church at St. Ambrose, where he was ordained in 1986. His family still lives locally. "I am so proud of him, and his family is as well," said his sister Maria Rosica.
At 53, Father Rosica is the oldest of six children. His sister said her big brother always knew he wanted to be a priest. "It was great growing up because he would practice church, practice mass and we were the altar servers," she recalled.
Today, Father Rosica lives in Toronto, but he visits home several times a year. He founded and heads the Salt and Light Television Network. His media experience helps answer challenging questions about the church from reporters gathered to cover the Pope. "We acknowledge where wrongdoing has been done and we look to the future," he said.
And to that end, Father Rosica's message from Rome back home to Rochester, and all around the world, is one of hope, as he enjoys a front row seat to history. "This is a time to pray for the church and to pray for Pope Benedict," he reflected. And to pray for the new Pope, who Father Rosica believes will be known before March 20 - that's the day he's set to fly home from his dream assignment.