My first blog as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See – Welcome!

My name is Ken Hackett and this is my first blog entry as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.  I had the honor of presenting my credentials today to His Holiness Pope Francis inside the apostolic palace, and I am excited and honored to begin this new journey.  I have decided to blog about my initial days as ambassador and talk about what our embassy does in its engagement with the Holy See, and about the importance of this relationship.

The United States and the Holy See have converging global interests that span a broad range of issues.  A desire to promote human rights and social justice is the foundation of a relationship that is strong, relevant, and enduring.

The focus of Pope Francis on the issues of poverty, simplicity, and human dignity offers inspiration to leaders around the world and offers great promise for continued partnership between our two countries.  We both work to make a difference on a range of important global issues such as trafficking in persons, interreligious dialogue, conflict resolution, food access and security, HIV/AIDS, and care for the environment.  And I look forward to deepening, and expanding where possible, that collaboration during my time in Rome.

While new to diplomacy and embassy life, I have been working in the area of international human development for the last four decades.  My wife and I have lived and worked in many areas of the world.  Our first child was born in the Philippines and our second was born in Kenya.  I spent 18 years as President/CEO of Catholic Relief Services and a total of 40 years with the organization.

I met many inspirational faith leaders who spent their lives promoting peace and human dignity – in Sierra Leone, Haiti, the Philippines, Kenya, and all over the world.  I have seen, and know first-hand, the importance of religion in people’s lives and the power faith leaders have to make positive change in their communities.

I look forward to sharing my experiences and engaging with you on this platform.  More to come.  KH.

40 thoughts on “My first blog as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See – Welcome!

    • Dear Mr. Ayo, We have many Nigerian priest here in Iligan City, Philippines. As you probably know, Iligan City is in Mindanao where Muslim extremist allied with Al-Qaeda is active. I pray that you, Ken Hackett, the Simon Wiesenthal foundation, & Pope Francis will succeed in promoting religious tolerance. I would like to be your friend in facebook.

      God bless you,

  1. Greetings. I just learned of your ambassadorship and found your site. I will look forward to reading your posts and following your work. I am located in Monterey, California, living at a Catholic (Dominican) girl’s school whose founding dates back to 1850 when California first became a State. The Pope sent the sisters here along with Bishop Alemany to bring Catholic Education to California…we’re still here. Personally I am a historian, and spend about four months of each year in France. Good luck on your mission.

  2. Ambassador Hackett,
    Congratulations on your new position. We have never met, but you bring a wealth of experience to your new position. It will be an honor to follow your thoughts as you conduct business within the Vatican. May you and your family grow spiritually from this experience. Best wishes and God bless. JM

  3. Ken,
    I had the privilege of visiting Ghana through the Frontiers of Justice Program in summer of 2001. My life has changed since then. Congratulations on your new ministry. You bring your whole life to this new moment. You are in my prayer.

  4. Ambassador Hackett,

    Congratulations from the Parents Guild of St. Paul’s Choir School, Harvard Square. The only boys Catholic Choir School in the U.S. The school will be touring in Rome the first week in November. We will keep you in our prayers.

  5. Dear Ambassador Hackett,
    I am delighted and heartened to see you serving in this position. We met when I was honored to host you at Boston College when you spoke for the Church in the 21st Century Center as President of CRS. Thank you for extending your wonderful and effective service by this new avenue. It’s an exciting time and I’m glad you’re part of it. Thanks for blogging about the experience. Congratulations!
    John McGinty

  6. Congratulations on having taken up your new responsibilities, Mr. Ambassador. Those of us who know you know how blessed we are in the USA to have you representing us at the Holy See. May God guide and bless your work, as he has done so beautifully for decades.

  7. Dear Mr. Hackett,

    Congratulations and best wishes for becoming the new U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
    What an honor and what a perfect time when Pope Francis serves!

    Peter Csaba from California

  8. Mr. Ken is the right person to the Vatican, as Pope dreams for helping poverty around the globe. these to will be good in forking together as they have the similar vocation. ” they are born to help others” they are not looking for success but to be valued for peoples life’s

  9. As a blogger myself, I think it is wonderful that an American Ambassador will be taking the time and trouble to share his thoughts and news from the Holy City. Thank you for doing this, Ambassador Hackett!
    May your work in Rome be fruitful, blessed, and enjoyable.
    Shalom from the Holy Land.

  10. Congratulations on your appointment, Ambassador Hackett! What a marvelous synergy there is between the values and initiatives of Pope Francis, your broad Catholic international human rights experience, and the interests of the current US administration in supporting the least among us, the abused, the forgotten, both in the US and abroad.

    Please extend to Pope Francis my personal support for significant change within the Catholic Church which supports living out the Gospel in today’s world. Special greetings from the Catholics, especially the Native American Pueblo community, of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM!

  11. Congratulations to you – Rome begins to be what it should have remained from 2000 years ago with Francis at the helm and great assistants like yourself – there is hope for the future – I look forward to following the blog and so keep in touch. Thanks for accepting what am sure will be a challenging task but you are up to the job – and am sure with a lot of support from the family – union in prayer

  12. Congratultions Ken,
    We will follow your blog and look forward to hearing all about your time and activities in Rome.

  13. Dear Ambassador Hackett,

    Congratulations and best wishes for your appointment.

    I really hope that Rome,my city,will treat you well.

    Best Regards,

    Mr. Andrea Presutto

  14. I received this announcement from Molly Mcwalter Donohoe. Molly your wife Joan and I were once Sisters of the Holy Union. It was so wonderful
    to be reconnected to Joan through this media after sk many years.
    Congratulations..please accept my humble prayers and kindly extend my best wishes to Joan.
    Paulette Beardmore
    282Pleasant St.

  15. Dear Ken,

    Congratulations! I am proud to both work with you and to get to know you. I feel like I am sharing in your success and look forward to your blogs.


  16. Ken:

    Congratulations once again on your appointment. John Allen obviously has great respect for you and the work you have done. Me too! I’m still engaged in working with Tim Bilodeau at Medicines for Humanity. Much to do in the world of ours.
    Best wishes and God speed
    16635 Burleigh Place
    Brookfield, WI 53005

  17. Hi Ken,

    We had an Italian dinner at home on Monday to celebrate Ambassador Day.

    Got the press release from State and the video at

    How can we reach you if necessary?


  18. I just read what John L. Allen Jr. | Oct. 25, 2013 on NCR about you. Wish you the best to serve God and the people. I have been in the Philippines and Kenya, another reason that prompts me to write to you. Here in Malta you have a very good ambassador.

  19. Mr. Hackett, God bless you for all you do! I am a BC graduate, class of ’80. I am a member of St. Paul’s Church, Princeton NJ. Over the course of my life I have been deeply involved in social justice in many areas: refugee resettlement, aid to the poor (also am on the local board for Catholic Charities), rescue of the abused (human and animal!), missions, plus a lot more. I will be in Rome Nov 6-13 and would love to meet you . I will be staying at The Irish College.

  20. Happy to have you on board!! First time for me also to blog an ambassador. A little bit star studded. Only anxious to hear constantly you and His Holiness’ Pope Francis dialogue on whatever diplomats discuss. Life long Catholic and admirer of our past popes and delighted that God has allowed us the privilege of growing in the faith as this Pope to me is the culmination of all that is of God on earth. Sincerely a faithful follower of Jesus

  21. Mr Hackett,
    I am not Catholic, though I come from a long line of Catholics on my father’s side. Congratulations on your new post… you seem a very appropriate candidate considering your background. If you have the opportunity, please pass to His Holiness that there are many in the world who are not Catholic, who watch him with admiration. His focus on poverty, simplicity, and human dignity is consistent with my own religious focus as a Baha’i; and I have been so impressed with his words and actions on this topic. I live part of the time in the US and part of the time in Nigeria, and I see the wages of materialism. On the opposite side of the ocean, if you have the opportunity, please pass to our own president that our country would be well served if the focus of our administration and congress could be in the same direction.

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