BY WILL GORE
POPE BENEDICT XVI has attended a farewell party in honour of Dr Joaquin NavarroValls, who served as the director of the Vatican press office for the last 22 years.
The Pontiff invited Dr Navarro-Valls to accompany him on his holiday to the Italian Alps.
The party took place in the Salesians' summer camp in Les Combes, where the Pope's chalet is located.
The Pope invited all those who joined him on his holiday, including those in charge of his security, to attend the party.
The Italian newspaper Awenire reported that the Pope arrived at 7.30pm. While he was there he addressed the party with a farewell speech in which he praised the hard work of Dr Navarro-Valls.
Dr Navarro-Valls enjoyed a distinguished career at the Vatican, where he served mainly under Benedict XVI's predecessor John Paul II.
The Holy Father has named Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi as the new director of the Vatican press office.
Fr Lombardi will also continue as director general of Vatican Radio and director of the Vatican Television Centre.
Dr Navarro-Valls, a psychiatrist from Spain, may be best remembered for breaking down in tears as he described the condition of Pope John Paul II to reporters shortly before the Holy Father died last year.