New U.S. ambassador named to Vatican

.- President George Bush has named an Oklahoma businessman, Francis Rooney III as the U.S.’ new ambassador to the Vatican.

Rooney, CEO of the Florida-based investment firm, Rooney Brothers Inc., will replace Jim Nicholson, who was named head of the Office of Veterans Affairs by the Bush administration in January.

Rooney was a founding member of the Tulsa committee on foreign relations, as well as a member of numerous city and state task forces and committees in his native Oklahoma.

Currently, he is a Member of the Board and Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee of the St. Francis Health System, the largest Catholic health system in Oklahoma; a member of the School of Architecture Council of The University of Notre Dame; and a member of The Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Rooney is a graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the bar association of the District of Columbia and Texas.

He and his wife Kathleen have three children, aged 22, 19 and 17.

Rooney, who is fluent in Spanish will most likely present his letters of credence to the new pope who will be elected in next week’s papal conclave.

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