Catholic News Service announced that Francis Rocca will join its staff as the new chief of the CNS Rome bureau.
He will succeed John Thavis, who will retire Jan. 31.
Rocca, a native of Washington, has been a journalist based in Italy since 1999.
Most recently, he was the Vatican correspondent for the Religion News Service, and he is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal.
As Rome bureau chief, Rocca will lead a staff of six people who cover daily the activities of Pope Benedict and the Roman Curia.
Thavis has been Rome bureau chief since 1996 and is one of the most respected journalists covering the Vatican today.